NASA Images a Weirdly Long Asteroid

Six planetary radar views of the elongated asteroid 2011 AG5.

Six radar observations made of an asteroid swinging through our planet revealed an unusual elongated space rock. The object is three times as long as it is wide –an irregular shape as far as asteroids are concerned.

the asteroid, called 2011 AG5, is about the Shape and size of the Empire State Building, minus the 222 feet antenna of course. The closest approach of the asteroid to Earth happened on February 3, when it came within 1.1 million miles of our planet. (When scientists speak of closing Approximations, they usually speak relatively.) TThe Webb Space Telescope, for comparison, is about 1 million miles from Earth.

The asteroid was discovered in 2011, but only recently came close enough for scientists to get a good look. It is approximately 1,600 feet long and 500 feet wide and was observed by the Goldstone Solar System Radar at a facility on the Deep Space Network between January 29 and February 4.

According to the team that discovered and measured the asteroid, it is very long. “Of the 1,040 near-Earth objects observed by planetary radar so far, this is one of the longest we’ve seen,” said Lance Benner, chief scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in one Agency Approval.

The team also found that the rotation rate of 2011 AG5 is reasonable slowly: IIt takes nine hours for the object to complete one rotation. The asteroid’s next flyby of Earth will not happen until 2040, when it will pass us at a distance of about 670,000 miles, about three times as far away as the moon. For now, it continues its 621-day orbit around the Sun.

Near-Earth objects regularly swing past our planet, and NASA remains vigilant take care of her. Last month an asteroid passed safely about 2,200 miles over South Americamaking it one of the most closely documented flybys a near-earth object.

NASA recently updated their impact monitoring systemwhich could help the agency prepare any near-Earth object that threatens to become an Earth-impacting object. In September, NASA’s DART mission successfully changed orbit a small asteroid about 6.8 million miles from Eartha groundbreaking demonstration of of humanity Ability to change the movement of objects in space.

The elongated asteroids last visit gave astronomers the opportunity to better understand the variety of shapes in space. Most things in space are spheres or disksso it’s always fun to find an outlier.

More: An asteroid is passing Earth today, so scientists are shooting it with radio waves NASA Images a Weirdly Long Asteroid

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

Related Articles

Back to top button