NASA Shares Radar Observations of Asteroid 2014 HQ124

Posted on June 16, 2014

radio images of Asteroid 2014 HQ124

NASA has shared radar observations of asteroid 2014 HQ124. The asteroid came within 776,000 miles (1.25 million kilometers) of Earth during its closest approach. The asteroid is about 1,200 feet (370 meters) wide on its long axis. The data was captured during a 4 hour period by NASA's 70-meter Goldstone antenna. NASA paired the data from Goldstone with two other radio telescopes to improve the amount of detail that can be seen in the images.

Astronomers say the asteroid could be two separate objects that form a single asteroid. It has a lobed shape and a pointy hill can be seen near the middle of the asteroid. NASA says one in six asteroids have this elongated shape, which it calls a "peanut shape."

Lance Benner of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says in a release, "This may be a double object, or 'contact binary,' consisting of two objects that form a single asteroid with a lobed shape."

Take a look:



Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arecibo Observatory/USRA/NSF