Planetary


NASA-funded Arecibo Planetary Radar system was tested for the first time since hurricane Maria with a successful detection of near-Earth asteroid 2007 AG. This object at its closest approach to Earth will be some 0.059 AU and is estimated to be 300 meters in diameter

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Asteroid Phaethon - Figure 1

Columbia, MD and Puerto Rico — December 22, 2017. After several months of downtime since Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar has returned to normal operation, providing the highest-resolution images to date of near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon during its December 2017 close approach to Earth. The radar images, which are subtle at the available resolution, reveal the asteroid is spheroidal (roughly ball-shaped) and has a large concavity, or depression, at least several hundred meters in extent near its equator, and a conspicuous dark, circular feature near one of the poles. Arecibo’s radar images of Phaethon have resolutions as fine as about 250 feet (75 meters) per pixel. Read More

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