The asteroid that passed so close to the Earth on Monday (Jan. 26), didn’t come alone.
Images released by NASA show that the asteroid, named 2004 BL86, has its own small moon in orbit around it. The asteroid was estimated to be about one-third of a mile in size, with the moon measuring in at about 230 feet.
2004 BL86 was at its closest to Earth at about 11 am EST on Monday morning, when it was within 745,000 miles. This is the closest an asteroid is expected to pass by Earth until 2027, but it was still at quite a safe distance away
, being roughly three times as far away as the Moon.
The images were obtained using NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, California. The 230-foot-wide antenna used radar imaging to obtain a number of images of 2004 BL86
as it passed by Earth. The radar imaging will be used to study not only the asteroid’s size, shape and surface features, but can also be used to help calculate its orbit far into the future.
The asteroid was discovered in January 2004 by a telescope of the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research survey in White Sands, New Mexico.
Keep Up With PopWrapped On The Web!