Holiday asteroid

NASA: Holiday asteroid looks like a hippopotamus

Holiday asteroid SD220
Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO

A 1.6-kilometre (1-mile) long asteroid on a trajectory that will carry it within 2.9 million kilometres (1.8 million miles) of Earth on twenty two December, its nearest approach in more than four hundred years and the nighest till 2070 when it’ll by slightly nearer. The asteroid, called 2003 SD220, was discovered in 2003 by astronomers at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

The above radar pictures were obtained by NASA’s 70-metre (230-foot) dish antenna at the agency’s goldstone deep space Communications complex in California and the National Science Foundation’s 100-metre (330-foot) green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

Holiday asteroid SD220
NASA

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The image on the left was captured fifteen December when the asteroid was 4.5 million kilometres (2.8 million miles) from Earth. the middle image, obtained one day later, shows 2003 SD220 at a distance of four million kilometres (2.5 million miles) while the right-side image shows it one day afterward at a distance of 3.6 million kilometres (2.2 million miles).

The radar pictures, with a maximum resolution of 3.7 metres per pixel (12 feet) show asteroid is at least 1.6 kilometres long.

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