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Asteroid and Comet Watch
NASA RELEASES UPDATED RADAR MOVIE OF ASTEROID 2005 YU55
November 11, 2011
(see link for video)
PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA scientists working with the
(70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif.,
released a second, longer, and more refined, movie clip of
2005 YU55. The images were generated from data collected at
on Nov. 7, 2011, between 11:24 a.m. and 1:35 p.m. PST (2:24 p.m.
4:35 p.m. EST).
Each of the 28 frames required 20 minutes of data collection by
Goldstone radar. At the time of the observations, 2005 YU55
approximately 860,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from
resolution is about 13 feet (4 meters) per pixel. 2005 YU55
approximately 18 hours to complete one rotation, so the rotation
the movie appears much more rapid than the actual asteroid
The Goldstone observations utilized a new system to obtain images
a resolution of 4 meters, which is five times finer than the
resolution previously possible at Goldstone.
"The encounter with 2005 YU55 has produced an enormous amount
that is still being processed." said radar astronomer Lance
the principal investigator for the 2005 YU55 Goldstone
from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
sequence of images we obtained shows unprecedented fine-scale
on this asteroid, which is comparable in size to the Empire
Building. The Goldstone images show evidence for concavities,
near the asteroid's equator, and numerous features that may be
The trajectory of asteroid 2005 YU55 is well understood.
asteroid is in an orbit that regularly brings it to the vicinity
Earth, (and Venus and Mars), 2005 YU55's 2011 encounter with Earth
the closest for at least the last 200 years. NASA detects,
and characterizes asteroids and comets passing close to Earth
both ground- and space-based telescopes. The Near-Earth
Observations Program, commonly called "Spaceguard,"
objects, characterizes a subset of them, and plots their orbits
determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our
JPL manages the Near-Earth Object Program Office for NASA's
Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of
California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is
D.C. Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726
NASA Headquarters, Washington
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