Radar catches asteroid flying close to Earth, discovers it has a tiny moon
Source: NASA

Radar catches asteroid flying close to Earth, discovers it has a tiny moon

The first asteroid, 2011 UL21, passed Earth on June 27, 2024, at a distance of about 6.6 million kilometers, or roughly 17 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

Nasa's Deep Space Network's Goldstone planetary radar recently tracked two asteroids as they safely passed Earth, providing valuable data for planetary defense and asteroid research.

The first asteroid, 2011 UL21, passed Earth on June 27, 2024, at a distance of about 6.6 million kilometers, or roughly 17 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.

This nearly mile-wide asteroid, discovered in 2011, was observed for nine days using the 230-foot-wide Goldstone Solar System Radar. The observations revealed that 2011
UL21 is a binary system, with a smaller moonlet orbiting it at a distance of about 3 kilometers.

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Radar catches asteroid flying close to Earth, discovers it has a tiny moon

The second asteroid, 2024 MK, made a closer approach on June 29, 2024, passing Earth at a distance of only 184,000 miles (295,000 kilometers), or about 77% of the Earth-Moon distance.

This asteroid, 150 meters wide, was only discovered on June 16, 2024, by the ATLAS-Sutherland observatory in South Africa. Radar observations of 2024 MK were conducted for three days, revealing an elongated and angular shape with prominent flat and rounded regions.

Both asteroids are classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroids due to their size and proximity to Earth, but calculations show they pose no threat to our planet for the foreseeable future.

Source: India Today

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