Thursday, July 10, 2008


Asteroids: Solar Spin

Credit: Steve Ostro/NASA/JPL

In 2006, the Arecibo Observatory bounced radio waves off of the flying-saucer-shaped asteroid 1999 KW4 (top) and its moon (bottom), creating the best 'pictures' of an asteroid pair ever made.

Illustration: Kevin Walsh/Derek Charles Richardson/UMD

Pairs of asteroids can be created from a single parent body that spins so fast due to solar energy that it breaks apart. In new computer simulations, the parent body was modelled as a rubble pile. Loose material near its poles rolled to its equator, then floated off to become a moon.

And That Is How It Is Done!

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