1,001st near-Earth asteroid
The video above shows asteroid 2016 AJ193 rotating, as it swept past Earth. NASA’s Goldstone’s 70-meter (230-foot) antenna acquired the images on August 22, 2021. This object thus became the 1,001st near-Earth asteroid to be measured by planetary radar, since the first radar observation of asteroid 1566 Icarus in 1968. The huge space rock safely passed closest to Earth on August 21. Although we were never in danger, asteroid 2016 AJ193 passed close enough to be seen in backyard telescopes.
Meanwhile, from August 20 to 24, scientists studied the rock with the Goldstone antenna, near Barstow, California. They sent radio signals to the asteroid and analyzed the radar reflections or “echoes” that returned. Scientists found that asteroid 2016 AJ193 completes a rotation every 3.5 hours. They also were able to acquire good details of the object’s surface, including ridges, small hills, flat areas, concavities, and possible boulders, NASA said.
Asteroid 2016 AJ193 is about 0.9 miles (1.4 km) in diameter. It’s travelling at 58,538 miles per hour (94,208 km/h) relative to Earth. It safely passed by Earth at a distance of 2.1 million miles (3.4 million km) or some 8.9 times the moon’s distance from us ...