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Peanut Shaped Asteroid Flew Past Earth Last Week


NASA has released spectacular images of the peanut shaped asteroid, named 1996 jd6, that flew past Earth last week on July 24 at 9:55 P.M , reported Benchmark Reporter.

The asteroid was first discovered on May 12, 1999 by the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona.

The size of the asteroid is between 660 - 980 feet (200 - 300 meters) in diameter and it has a peanut shaped lobed structure, reported Info Europa

The asteroid flew past earth at a distance of 4.5 million miles away or about 9 times the distance from Earth to moon.

The stunning images of the asteroid were taken with the use of a technique called 'bistatic observation'. NASA researchers employed the 70-meter wide Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California with the 100-meter wide National Science Foundation Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

"Radar imaging has shown that about 15 per cent of near-Earth asteroids larger than 600 feet (180 metres), including 1999 JD6, have this sort of lobed, peanut shape," said NASA's lead at the asteroid radar research program, Lance Benner.

The technique employed by the NASA scientists provides access into the features of the asteroid. However, despite extensive research, the size of the asteroid has still not been conclusively determined.

This is the closest encounter of this asteroid with Earth for the next 40 years. The next encounter is expected around the year 2054.

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