Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Arecibo astronomers prepare to obtain close images of a near-Earth asteroid

29.01.2008
The Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico will observe a newly discovered asteroid on Jan. 27-28, as the object called 2007 TU24 passes within 1.4 lunar distances, or 334,000 miles, from Earth.

The asteroid, estimated at between 150 and 600 meters in diameter – about 500 feet to 1,900 feet, or the size of a football field, at 360 feet, to the size of Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower, at 1,454 feet – was discovered by the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey in October 2007. It poses no threat to Earth, but its near approach gives Arecibo astronomers a golden opportunity to learn more about potentially hazardous near-Earth objects.

“We don’t yet know anything about this asteroid,” said Mike Nolan, head of radar astronomy at the Puerto Rico observatory. Such objects pass near Earth with relative frequency, he said – approximately one every five years or so – but it’s rare that astronomers have enough advance notice to plan for rigorous observing.

“Because it’s coming so close, we’ll get our highest quality imaging,” said Nolan.

Using Arecibo’s powerful radar, which is the most sensitive in the world, researchers will gauge the object’s size, observe its speed and measure its spin. Switching then to imaging mode, which will offer resolution to 7.5 meters – three times more precise than NASA’s Goldstone telescope, the only other radar telescope in the world – the researchers hope to map the object’s surface in detail. The Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, Green Bank, W.Va., will receive Arecibo’s echo from the asteroid and transmit its data back to Arecibo.

TU2 is one of an estimated 7,000 near-Earth objects, its size or larger – most have never been closely studied.

“We have good images of a couple dozen objects like this, and for about one in 10, we see something we‘ve never seen before,” said Nolan. “We really haven’t sampled the population enough to know what’s out there.”

Arecibo’s radar is vital for continuing to classify and understand such objects, said Cornell University assistant professor of astronomy Jean-Luc Margot. “Arecibo does a fantastic job at getting images, discovering the shape, spin and reflection properties of such an object . . . all these things that are important to know.”

The telescope will be trained on TU24 Jan. 27-28 and again Feb. 1-4. Goldstone’s planetary radar observed it Jan. 23-24.

Blaine Friedlander | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>