NASA has used two giant radio telescopes to capture a video clip of a space peanut.
Radio signals were emitted by two giant radio telescopes. The result is a series of images of the passing asteroid. It's shaped like a peanut. The heavenly body approached the outer limits of earth on the previous weekend. It appears to be a contact binary.
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Its two lobes link with each other. And thus it looks like a peanut. The asteroid is termed 1999 JD6. At its closest range, it was 4.5 million miles away from the surface of the earth.
A minority of large asteroids that come close to the earth’s ambit have a peanut-lobed shape. This asteroid poses no danger since it is more than 19 times away from us as the moon. Two of NASA’s facilities gained the precious images.
One sent the radio signals while the other one received them. Features that are fine get seen. The information got collated and led to the generation of the images. The video clip was 7 hours and 40 minutes in duration.
"Radar imaging has shown that about 15 percent of near-Earth asteroids larger than 600 feet [about 180 meters], including 1999 JD6, have this sort of lobed, peanut shape," said Lance Benner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who leads NASA's asteroid radar research program.
The flyby of this comet is the closest it has ever been to the earth’s locus. It will never come this close in the future. A graduate student named Sean Marshall is going to use the data to write his doctoral thesis. There is some controversy about its size and Sean’s research will resolve this matter.
This technique of radar astronomy is progressive. It can gauge the size and dimensions of space objects. NASA has always been wary when it comes to huge comets that come close to the ambit of earth. And it even has plans on ending any threat from any one of them.
Over 98% of objects near the earth are tracked by NASA. The agency is a big predictor of the future trends in the sky. NASA cooperates with many other agencies to do its job. These networks of influence see to it that no harm comes to planet earth. Any haphazard astronomical phenomena are cause for concern.
This is a noble cause and one for which NASA deserves congratulations. NASA was responsible for the first manned landing on the moon. As Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface, it was a giant leap for mankind.
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Watch below the video of Earth Flyby of 'Space Peanut' captured by NASA.