[meteorite-list] Radar Images of Near-Earth Asteroid 2006 DP14

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 14:48:07 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <201402252248.s1PMm7os005523_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Radar Images of near-Earth Asteroid 2006 DP14
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
February 25, 2014

This image is one frame from a collage of radar images taken on Feb.
11, 2014, of near-Earth asteroid 2006 DP 14, which is about 1,300 feet
(400 meters) long. The imaging used the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space
Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., while the asteroid was about 11
times farther from Earth than the moon is.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR

A collage of radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2006 DP14 was generated
by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna
at Goldstone, Calif., on the night of Feb. 11, 2014.

Delay-Doppler radar imaging revealed that the asteroid is about 1,300
feet (400 meters) long, 660 feet (200 meters) wide, and shaped somewhat
like a big peanut. The asteroid's period of rotation is about six hours.
The asteroid is of a type known as a "contact binary" because it has two
large lobes on either end that appear to be in contact. Previous radar
data from Goldstone and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has shown
that at least 10 percent of near-Earth asteroids larger than about 650
feet (200 meters) have contact binary shapes like that of 2006 DP14. The
data were obtained over an interval of 2.5 hours as the asteroid completed
about half a revolution. The resolution is about 60 feet (19 meters) per

The data were obtained on Feb. 11 between 9:03 a.m. and 11:27 p.m. PST
(12:03 a.m. to 2:27 a.m. EST on Feb. 12). At the time of the observations,
the asteroid's distance was about 2.6 million miles (4.2 million kilometers)
from Earth. That is about 11 times the average distance between Earth
and its moon. The asteroid's closest approach to Earth occurred on Feb.
10, at a distance of about 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers).

Radar is a powerful technique for studying an asteroid's size, shape,
rotation state, surface features and surface roughness, and for improving
the calculation of asteroid orbits. 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 places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home
planet from them. In fact, the United States has the most robust and productive
survey and detection program for discovering near-Earth objects. To date,
U.S. assets have discovered more than 98 percent of the known near-Earth

In addition to the resources NASA puts into understanding asteroids, it
also partners with other U.S. government agencies, university-based astronomers,
and space science institutes across the country that are working to track
and understand these objects better, often with grants, interagency transfers
and other contracts from NASA.

NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington, manages
and funds the search, study and monitoring of asteroids and comets whose
orbits periodically bring them close to Earth. 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 available at:
http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/ , http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch and via
Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/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 Tue 25 Feb 2014 05:48:07 PM PST

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