Triple Asteroid System Triples Observers' Interest

Aug 06, 2009
Radar imaging at NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar on June 12 and 14, 2009, revealed that near-Earth asteroid 1994 CC is a triple system. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/GSSR

(PhysOrg.com) -- Radar imaging at NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar on June 12 and 14, 2009, revealed that near-Earth asteroid 1994 CC is a triple system. Asteroid 1994 CC encountered Earth within 2.52 million kilometers (1.56 million miles) on June 10.

Prior to the flyby, very little was known about this celestial body. 1994 CC is only the second triple system known in the near-Earth population. A team led by Marina Brozovic and Lance Benner, both scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., made the discovery.

1994 CC consists of a central object about 700 meters (2,300 feet) in diameter that has two smaller moons revolving around it. Preliminary analysis suggests that the two small satellites are at least 50 meters (164 feet) in diameter. Radar observations at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, led by the center's director Mike Nolan, also detected all three objects, and the combined observations from Goldstone and Arecibo will be utilized by JPL scientists and their colleagues to study 1994 CC's orbital and physical properties.

CLICK 'ENLARGE' FOR ANIMATED VERSION. Asteroid 1994 CC encountered Earth within 2.52 million kilometers (1.56 million miles) on June 10. Prior to the flyby, very little was known about this celestial body. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/GSSR

The next comparable flyby for 1994 CC will occur in the year 2074 when the space rock trio flies past Earth at a distance of two-and-a-half million kilometers (1.6 million miles).

Of the hundreds of near-Earth asteroids observed by radar, only about 1 percent are triple systems.

Provided by JPL/NASA (news : web)

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User comments : 4

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nuge
1 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2009
I think they should be called "the Three Stooges"
RayCherry
4 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2009
If they find a quadruple system, perhaps they should call it
"The Horsemen", eh?

The good news is that Goldstone has got radar on hundreds, (of the many thousands), of Near Earth Objects ... I hope that can quickly extend that number to all the known objects, and beyond to the main belt objects to prepare for a full realtime tracking system.
Keno_Dan
1 / 5 (1) Aug 07, 2009
Did anyone do any computer simulated deflections of Asteroid 1994 CC? Anyone know? The CYRUS SPACE SYSTEM has a program incorporated in it called the CAVCOD (Comet and Asteroid Vector Control Device) and is being reviewed right now by the Augustine. http://www.cyrus-...stem.com Daniel Sterling Sample Space Designs
yyz
not rated yet Aug 09, 2009
Steve Ostro & company have a somewhat informative website entitled "Asteroid Radar Research" that has a listing of all Goldstone tracked or acquired asteroids over the past several years. It can be found here: http://echo.jpl.nasa.gov/ .