[amsat-bb] Re: Close encounters of the Asteroidal Kind

Vince Fiscus, KB7ADL vlfiscus at mcn.net
Wed Feb 20 07:42:44 PST 2013


NASA Releases Radar Movie of Asteroid 2012 DA14
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
February 19, 2013

This collage of 72 individual radar-generated images of asteroid 2012
DA14 was created using data from NASA's 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space
Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

An initial sequence of radar images of asteroid 2012 DA14 was obtained
on the night of Feb. 15/16, 2013, by NASA scientists using the 230-foot
(70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif. Each of the
72 frames required 320 seconds of data collection by the Goldstone radar.

The observations were made as the asteroid was moving away from Earth.
The asteroid's distance from the radar dish increased from 74,000 miles
(120,000 kilometers) to 195,000 miles (314,000 kilometers). The
resolution is 13 feet (four meters) per pixel. The images span close to
eight hours and clearly show an elongated object undergoing roughly one
full rotation. The images suggest that the asteroid has a long axis of
about 130 feet (40 meters). The radar observations were led by
scientists Lance Benner and Marina Brozovic of NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Additional Goldstone radar observations are
scheduled on February 18, 19 and 20.

Radar is a powerful technique for studying an asteroid's size, shape,
rotation state, surface features and surface roughness, and for
improving calculations of its orbit. Radar measurements of asteroid
distances and velocities often enable computation of asteroid orbits
much further into the future than if radar observations weren't available.

NASA detects, tracks and characterizes asteroids and comets passing
close to Earth using both ground- and space-based telescopes. The
Near-Earth Object Observations Program, commonly called "Spaceguard,"
discovers these objects, characterizes a subset of them, and plots their
orbits to determine if any could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

JPL manages the Near-Earth Object Program Office for NASA's Science
Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch . More information about asteroid
radar research is at: http://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/ . More information about
the Deep Space Network is at: http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn .

DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

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