Trio of observatories reveal rare double asteroid

Dual Asteroids

NASA said in a statement on July 12 that the new observation obtained between June 21 and 26 shows that two objects, each in size greater than 900, every 20 to 24 hours around each other Wander around.

Near-Earth asteroid 2017 YE5 was discovered on December 21, 2017 by the Morocco Oukaimeden Sky Survey (MOSS), but no details were known about the asteroid's physical characteristics until last month.

On June 21, the closest Earth's closest planet, Earth's nearest planet, was about 16 times the size of Earth's or Earth's equivalent of about 6 million kilometers from Earth, in 2017, which moved to Earth's nearest planet. NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar (GSSR) in California made observations on June 21 and 22 that provided the fist indications that asteroid 2017 YE5 could be a binary system.

The reason the two objects rotate around each other in a stable configuration is because the barycenter - the center of mass within the two-body system - is located in between the two asteroids. Eventually, the rotation of the binary system exposed a gap between the duo, confirming that they are indeed two separate asteroids. First, the team at Arecibo (already planning to observe the asteroid) spoke to astronomers at Goldstone, who had picked up on the pair's unusual properties.

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It's a particularly exciting surprise because the two pieces of 2017 YE5 are nearly the same size, each about 3,000 feet (900 meters) across. Radar observations show these space rocks have similar sizes, but hint that the two objects may be very different in composition and densities.

Contact binaries - where two similarly sized objects actually touch each other - are thought to make up another 15 percent of near-Earth asteroids larger than 650 feet (200 meters) in size. 2017 YE5 is likely as dark as charcoal. 2017 YE5, it turns out, isn't one asteroid. The studies showed not one but two objects, about equal in mass. This is quite rare and only the fourth "equal mass" binary system that's ever been recorded.

In addition, each object was found to reflect the radar signal differently pointing to a potential difference in either surface compositions or roughness, or even densities. He is on the list of Potentially hazardous asteroids potentially hazardous to the life of our planet objects.

Patrick Taylor of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA), scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, led the bi-static radar observations with GBO, home of the Green Bank Telescope (GBT), the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope. They also collaborate with worldwide space agencies and institutions that are working to track and better understand these smaller objects of the solar system. The observations show that the asteroid consists of two separate objects in orbit around each other.

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