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Asteroid moon: moonsteroid!

31 May 2013, 15:57 UTC
Asteroid moon: moonsteroid!
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Today, a relatively large asteroid known as 1998 QE2 will pass Earth, just beyond the orbit of the Moon. Yes, it’s named for the cruise ship, but it’s much bigger — 2.7 kilometers along its greatest axis — and correspondingly much more massive. (As I said, the asteroid won’t come even as close as the […]

The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its tiny moon visible as a brighter spot below the larger gray blur that’s the asteroid. [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR]Today, a relatively large asteroid known as 1998 QE2 will pass Earth, just beyond the orbit of the Moon. Yes, it’s named for the cruise ship, but it’s much bigger — 2.7 kilometers along its greatest axis — and correspondingly much more massive. (As I said, the asteroid won’t come even as close as the Moon, so even though 1998 QE2 would be pretty devastating if it hit us, we’re in absolutely no danger.) If you have a telescope and you want more information on how to see the asteroid for yourself, check out David Dickinson’s guide at Universe Today.
The exciting thing for me is the discovery of a small moon orbiting the asteroid. Radar data showed a small body moving ...

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