NASA Captures High Resolution Images of Asteroid 2014 HQ124

NASA Captures High Resolution Images of Asteroid 2014 HQ124

With the help of a recent upgrade at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico, NASA was able to capture high-resolution images of the asteroid 2014 HQ124 that has passed by earth quite closely on June 8.

The asteroid, nicknamed as 'The Beast', whizzed past by earth at a very close distance of 3.25 lunar distances. Though the distance was safe, it was dangerously too close as the speed of the asteroid was 31,000 mph.

Scientists used the 70-meter Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, the Arecibo radio telescope and also used the 34-meter antenna in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. Using all of them, researchers took the images of the asteroid.

"With Arecibo now able to receive our highest-resolution Goldstone signals, we can create a single system that improves the overall quality of the images", affirmed Lance Benner, a researcher from NASA JPL.

Scientists have created a collage of the asteroid using 21 radar images. The collage shows the asteroid when it made the closest approach to earth. Each frame, as per scientists, had 10 minutes of observation time.

The images show the surface structure of the asteroid. It also revealed that the Beast had depression at its larger lobe. Astronomers estimated that the asteroid would approach earth again in November 2017.

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