Most cosmic “stones”, which pass near the Earth are lone travellers, making its way around the Sun and by the planet. But the asteroid 1999 KW4, which will pass near our Earth on 25 may, the day after tomorrow, is slightly different. Believed to have large main body of the asteroid with a width of half a kilometer — big enough around him circled “asteroid moon” is smaller.
Double asteroid will give Earth Hello
The smaller moon, the larger the stone itself is quite large: its diameter is more than 400 meters. If a double asteroid a threat to Earth, we would be in serious trouble, but fortunately, it is not.
1999 KW4 should not be a problem for us here on Earth, in the foreseeable future, and when it will pass near us at the end of this week, it’s gonna be quite a convenient distance of 5.3 million kilometers. This is 13 times further than our Moon.
Not too close, of course, but for astronomers who want to learn more about this and other asteroids in our system, it will be a great gift. Observations of these asteroids in the past have shown that it has a strange shape of diamond, reminiscent of other well-known asteroids like the Ryuga.
The Ryuga is now exploring the Hayabusa mission.
As these space rocks acquire their form and what processes might influence their change over time remains largely unknown. In the case of 1999 KW4, the origin of the smaller “moon” orbiting the main body, is of great interest to astronomers and planetary scientists. What it is: a piece of a larger asteroid that broke off long ago, or the asteroid rogue, drawn by the gravitational pull of the larger body?
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