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Space Science

NASA Snaps New Photo of Incoming Asteroid 135

astroengine writes "Wider than an aircraft carrier and darker than coal, asteroid 2005 YU55 is soaring at over 11 miles a second straight towards Earth and moon on its latest path through the inner solar system. This new radar image was acquired Nov. 7 by the 70-meter radio telescope at NASA's Deep Space Network in Goldstone, Calif., and shows the approaching space rock in unprecedented detail." Phil Plait has posted some information from NASA about just how they're doing the tricky job of tracking the asteroid.
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NASA Snaps New Photo of Incoming Asteroid

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  • by Superken7 ( 893292 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:25AM (#37985380) Journal

    The article explains why the asteroid looks like a pixelated sprite taken from the era of Monkey Island.

    For those that didn't want to bother reading both articles and just wanted to have a look at the image but then thought "WTF" after having a look at it:

    "The individual pulses can be timed very accurately as well, so that the shape of the asteroid can be determined, too. If there is a bump on the asteroid, like a hill, then a pulse hitting that won’t travel quite as far as a pulse that hits a crater. It gets back sooner, and this can be measured. The spatial resolution of this method at the distance of YU 55 will be about 4 meters, so they’ll be able to make an image that’s about 100 pixels across of it."

    image: []

  • Re:Why side-lit? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @11:55AM (#37985786)

    Up in the image is earth-ward. The vertical axis is the pulse return delay, and the horizontal axis is doppler shift of the pulse return.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall