Meet the Asteroid That Could Smash Into Earth in 2880

There are over 10,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that have been identified so far, asteroids and comets of varying sizes that approach the Earth’s orbital distance to within about 28 million miles (45 million km). Of the 10,000 discoveries, roughly 10 percent are larger than six-tenths of a mile (one kilometer) in size – large enough to have…

Passing 2-Mile-Wide Asteroid Has Its Own Little Moon

On the afternoon of Friday, May 31, 2013, at 4:59 p.m. EDT, the nearly two-mile-wide asteroid 1998 QE2 will pass by our planet at a distance of about 5.86 million km (3.64 million miles)… about 15 times the distance between Earth and the Moon. And although it poses no threat of impacting Earth neither during…

So What Did Asteroid 2012 DA14 Actually Look Like?

Something like this: This video was made from 72 radar observations made on the night of Feb. 15/16, 2013, by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, CA. The target object, a ~40-meter wide asteroid named 2012 DA14, passed within 17,200 miles (27,680 km) of Earth — coming several thousand…

Floes of Frozen Methane May Be Floating on Titan’s Lakes

Although surface temperatures on Titan are cold enough that methane can exist as a liquid, filling lakes and flowing in streams, it may sometimes get so cold that even the liquid methane and ethane freezes, forming floes and icebergs of frozen hydrocarbons. This Titanic revelation was announced today during the 221st American Astronomical Society meeting…

Incoming! First New Image of 2005 YU55

This radar image of 1300-foot-wide (400 meter) asteroid 2005 YU55 was obtained on Nov. 7, 2011, at 11:45 a.m. PST (2:45 p.m. EST/1945 UTC), when the space rock was at 3.6 lunar distances, which is about 860,000 miles, or 1.38 million kilometers, from Earth. This asteroid will pass by Earth tomorrow at 6:28 pm EST,…

Radar Love

  NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar, located in California’s Mojave Desert, recently made some detailed observations of asteroid 2010 JL33 on December 11 and 12, 2010 as it tumbled through space at a distance of 5.3 million miles – 22 times further away than the Moon! The radar images have also been assembled into a…

A River Runs Through It

…or has very recently, geologically speaking. But that river would be of liquid methane, not water. And it would be hundreds of degrees below zero. And it would be on Saturn’s moon Titan. This topographic radar image, taken by Cassini during a flyby of the moon on May 21, pierced the dense clouds of Titan…