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NEO ‘Near Earth Object’ Asteroid 1998 QE2, closest approach 31 May 2013 at 20:59 UTC/GMT at a distance of around 3.6 million miles/5.8 million km, which is approximately 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
Radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2 suggest that it is approximately 1.7 miles/2.7 km in diameter with a rotation period of less than four hours. Radar imagery of the asteroid showed several dark surface features that suggest large concavities.
The event is interesting for radar-astronomers. The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and NASA's 230-foot-wide/70 metre Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California are planning comprehensive observations, with the two telescopes having complementary imaging capabilities allowing astronomers to learn all they can about asteroid 1998QE2.
Asteroid 1998 QE2 has its own moon.
31 May 2013: Radar imagery has shown that asteroid 1998 QE2 is a binary asteroid, in other words it has its own satellite, or if you prefer, has its own moon.
The preliminary estimate for the size of the satellite is approximately 2,000 feet/600 metres wide. A sequence of radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2 were taken by NASA scientists using the 230-foot/70m Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, when the asteroid was about 3.75 million miles/6 million km from Earth.
In the near-Earth population of asteroids about 16 percent that are approximately 655 feet/200 metres or larger, are binary or triple systems.
The radar observations were led by scientist Marina Brozovic of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California:
Image credit; NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR
Asteroid 1998 QE2 has its own moon, or if you prefer, its own natural satallite..
Diagram,applet; originally written by Osamu Ajiki (AstroArts), and further modified by Ron Baalke (JPL).
Orbital inclination of asteroid 1998 QE2 - 12.8 deg.
In blue the Orbital inclination of asteroid 1998 QE2 compared to the ecliptic plane of the Solar System.
White through to grey is orbit of Jupiter.
The cross-hairs denote Solar System ecliptic plane. Inclination of asteroid 1998 QE2; 12.8 deg.
From the years 1370 to 2436, the only approach of asteroid 1998 QE2 closer than the one in 2013 will be in 2221 at a distance of 0.038 AU.
Asteroid 1998 QE2 is a binary asteroid; (it has its own orbiting satellite.)
Preliminary estimate size of satellite, approximately 2,000 feet/600 metres wide.
Asteroid 1998 QE2; approximately 1.7 miles/2.7 km in diameter.
Roatation period; less than four hours.
The asteroid's name '1998 QE2' follows a code used for newly-discovered asteroids by the US Minor Planet Centre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Asteroid 1998 QE2; a short time-lapse video of asteroid 1998 QE2 and its orbiting moon.
This short radar sequence of the asteroid and its satellite lasts just a few seconds but covers in true time frame of just over two hours.
Asteroid 1998 QE2 information
(285263) 1998 QE2
Orbit Type; Amor
Semimajor Axis; 2.427 AU
Inclination; 12.8 degrees
Perihelion Distance; 1.049 AU
Aphelion Distance; 3.805 AU
Tisserand Parameter; 3.240 Not obviously cometary
Absolute Magnitude; (H) 16.4
Diameter; 1.7miles/2.75 km
Optical Albedo; 0.06
Rotation Period; less than 4 hours
Pole Direction; unknown
Lightcurve Amplitude; 0.2 mag This suggests that its shape is not highly elongated.
Spectral Class; unknown, but optically dark.
Satallite of (285263) Asteroid 1998 QE2;
preliminary estimate for the size of the asteroid's satellite is approximately 2,000 feet/600 metres wide.
The radar observations were led by scientist Marina Brozovic of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, USA.
Near Earth Object - Asteroid 1998 QE2 - Video of how radar imagary works
Video credit; Jet Propulsion Laboratory 'JPL' Pasadena, California, USA..
Near Earth Object - Asteroid 1998 QE2
Short 2 minute 57 second video explains and describes the event.
Near Earth Object, Asteroid 1998 QE2 closest approach to Earth; 31 May 2013, 20:59 UTC/GMT
Distance of around 3.6 million miles / 5.8 million km.
Lance Benner, the principal investigator for the Goldstone radar observations from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said, "Whenever an asteroid approaches this closely, it provides an important scientific opportunity to study it in detail to understand its size, shape, rotation, surface features, and what they can tell us about its origin. We will also use new radar measurements of the asteroid's distance and velocity to improve our calculation of its orbit and compute its motion farther into the future than we could otherwise."
Asteroid 1998 QE2 guide to night sky viewing
Asteroid 1998 QE2 is too small to be see without the use of optical instruments. You will need at least a 4 inch telescope. Look around the constellation of Libra. Libra can be found in the south-southeast area of the sky in the northern hemisphere. The asteroid will appear as a slow moving object travelling in a northeastward direction and it will move the equivalent of two full moon widths every three hours.
Dr Tim O'Brien, associate director at Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester, said: "Nobody should be expecting to see this streaking across the sky, but with a telescope it will be clear that it is moving. If people look south, the brightest thing in the sky will be Saturn. If they look to the left of Saturn and slightly below it, they will see the asteroid moving through the constellation of Libra."
Asteroid 1998 QE2 nightsky viewing diagram:
Asteroid 1998 QE2 diagram: The red dots indicate position of asteroid 1998 QE2, marked with dates. Looking south the brightest object in sky is Saturn. Constellation Libra is left of Saturn. Asteroid 1998 QE2, is left off and slightly below the top-tip of Libra. The asteroid will move the equivalent of two full moon widths every three hours.
enlarge by clicking image.
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