[meteorite-list] NASA Radar Images Asteroid 2007 PA8

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2012 17:03:04 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201211060103.qA6134sD009906_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


NASA Radar Images Asteroid 2007 PA8
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
November 05, 2012

Scientists working with NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space
Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., have obtained several radar images
depicting near-Earth asteroid 2007 PA8. The images were generated from
data collected at Goldstone on Oct. 28, 29 and 30, 2012. The asteroid's
distance from Earth on Oct. 28 was 6.5 million miles (10 million
kilometers). The asteroid's distance to Earth was 5.6 million miles (9
million kilometers) on Oct. 30. The perspective in the images is
analogous to seeing the asteroid from above its north pole. Each of the
three images is shown at the same scale.

The radar images of asteroid 2007 PA8 indicate that it is an elongated,
irregularly shaped object approximately one mile (1.6 kilometers) wide,
with ridges and perhaps craters. The data also indicate that 2007 PA8
rotates very slowly, roughly once every three to four days.

JPL scientists chose to image asteroid 2007 PA8 due to its size and
relative proximity to Earth at the point of closest approach. On Nov. 5
at 8:42 a.m. PST (11:42 a.m. EST /16:42 UTC), the space rock was about
four million miles (6.5 million kilometers) from Earth, or 17 times the
distance between Earth and the moon. The trajectory of asteroid 2007 PA8
is well understood. This flyby was the closest Earth approach by this
asteroid for at least the next 200 years. 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.

JPL manages the Near-Earth Object Program Office for NASA's Science
Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL is a division of the California
Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is at:
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch . More information about asteroid
radar research is at: http://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/ . More information about
the Deep Space Network is at: http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn .

DC Agle 818-393-9011
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

Received on Mon 05 Nov 2012 08:03:04 PM PST

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