The Planetary Radar Science group is a department of the Arecibo Observatory, which is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by the University of Central Florida (UCF), Yang Enterprises, Inc. (YEI), and Universidad Ana G. Mendez (UAGM).
The Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar program is fully funded by NASA's Solar System Observations program and proudly supports NASA's efforts to track and characterize near-Earth objects for planetary defense. For information about asteroid and comet orbits, including close approaches to Earth, please see the websites of the NASA Center for Near-Earth Object Studies and the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office.
Arecibo, Puerto Rico - April 23, 2020
The Arecibo Observatory is using its powerful radar system to track (52768) 1998 OR2, a near-Earth asteroid that will safely pass the Earth at a distance 16 times further than the distance to the Moon on April 29.
The radar data confirm that 1998 OR2 is approximately 2 km in diameter and rotates once every 4.1 hours, as was suggested by optical observations. The range-Doppler images uniquely revealed the overall shape of the asteroid and some smaller-scale topographic features, such as hills and ridges.
(Left) Mosaic of range-Doppler radar images of (52768) 1998 OR2 obtained on April 19-20 UT reveal the near-Earth asteroid to be approximately 2 km in diameter (7.5 m/pixel vertically) with a crater-like concavity rotating across the radar-illuminated side (top of image) during roughly 2 hours of radar imaging. (Right) Animation of delay-Doppler images from Apr 18 UT. Image credit: Arecibo Observatory/NASA/NSF.
The scientists and telescope operators at the observatory have been adhering to health and safety guidelines, limiting the number of observing scientists at the telescope and wearing masks during the observations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arecibo radar observations were collected April 13th and every day between April 16th through April 23rd. The team of observers includes Drs. Anne Virkki, Flaviane Venditti, and Sean Marshall from UCF/Arecibo Planetary Group, Dr. Patrick Taylor (remotely) from the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, TX, and the Arecibo telescope operators Israel Cabrera, Elliot Gonzalez, and Daniel Padilla.
In an international collaborative effort, the Svetloe Radio Astronomical Observatory near St. Petersburg, Russia, has also been receiving the AO radar waves that were bounced off of 1998 OR2 with their 32-meter radio telescope.
Click here for the press release about these observations!
For media inquiries, please contact our communications lead, Ricardo Correa
All observations in 2020 - most recent first
|441987 (2010 NY65)||Jun 19-28||High-res Imaging||21.5||Y||Y||PHA, 5.5-h period, Yarkovsky?|
|144411 (2004 EW9)||Jun 21-04||High-res Imaging||16.6||Y||Y||49.9-h period|
|242450 (2004 QY2)||Jul 08||Astrometry||14.7||PHA, period unknown|
|2016 YO3||Jul 09||Astrometry||20.1||Period unknown|
|2006 NL||Jul 10-11||Imaging||20.0||Y||Period unknown|
|2004 XP14||Jul 10-19||Astrometry||19.4||PHA, long period?|
|8014 (1990 MF)||Jul 13-17||High-res Imaging||18.7||Y||Y||PHA, period unknown|
|480936 (2003 QH5)||Jul 17||Astrometry||20.1||PHA, period unknown|
|85989 (1999 JD6)||Jul 23-24||Imaging||17.1||Y||PHA, 7.7-h period|
|2015 FP332||Jul 25||Astrometry||17.3||Period unknown|
|2002 BF25||Jul 26-27||Imaging||22.2||Y||NHATS, period unknown|
|2020 MX3||Jul 26-29||Astrometry||23.6||1 deg!||Medium||Period unknown|