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IRON AND ICE
Radar Movie of Asteroid 2012 DA14
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Feb 20, 2013


Watch a video of early radar observations of Asteroid 2012 DA14

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.

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Related Links
Near-Earth Objects at NASA
Asteroid Radar Research at NASA
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology






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IRON AND ICE
How Do We Know the Russian Meteor and 2012 DA14 Aren't Related?
Washington DC (SPX) Feb 20, 2013
So how can we tell that the Russian meteor isn't related to asteroid 2012 DA14? One way is to look at meteor showers - the Orionids all have similar orbits to their parent comet, Halley. Similarly, the Geminids all move in orbits that closely resemble the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, which produced them. So if the Russian meteor was a fragment of 2014 DA14, it would have an orbit very similar ... read more


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