According to NASA, a hippopotamus-shaped small asteroid has safely flown by Earth on December 22 as observed in the radar images. The asteroid, named 2003 SD220, has made its nearest passing through the Earth within around last 400 Years, and the estimated results by NASA reveals that it would not pass through such a minimum distance until the Year 2070. The previous pass of the asteroid was noticed around three years back. The recent approaching distance noticed between the asteroid and Earth was approximately 1.8 Million Miles.
JPL officials stated that both the size and the shape of asteroid 2003 SD220 have been revealed through the newly captured radar images, which is around 1 Mile long with a structure like the exposed portion of hippopotamus walking in a river. Additionally, the chances of danger have emerged due to its huge size and close passing, which aggravated NASA to keep a watch over the asteroid.
On December 15 and December 17, scientists of NASA captured radar images of the asteroid with the help of its JPL; Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico; Goldstone antenna, California; and the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope, West Virginia. The Green Bank Telescope captured the microwave signals coming from the asteroid, which were sent by Arecibo and Goldstone antennas, to create the radar images.
The captured radar images of the asteroid 2003 SD220 were then obtained on December 18-19, which revealed the detailed structure of the asteroid.
NASA executives said that the new exploration of the asteroid provided 20 times more detailed information than in the year 2015.
NASA said that major details revealed by the asteroid’s recent observations include the exceptionally slow and non-principal axis’ rotation of the asteroid, which takes around 12 days to complete one rotation.
The recent observations of asteroid 2003 SD220, which revealed its size, rotation, and size through radar pictures will help NASA to thoroughly understand the formation and evolution of the asteroid over time.
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