Halloween Asteroid is a Radar Science Treat

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So, here is the animation of asteroid 2015TB145 as it goes in its orbit around the sun. These dots everywhere, that’s the main belt. Those are the asteroids that are between Mars and Jupiter. This asteroid is going to fly by Earth on October 31st. So, this is our Halloween asteroid. We are going to study it with optical, infrared, and radar wavelengths. This is the Goldstone Solar System Radar located in Mojave Desert, California. So, imagine that the radar is a very large flashlight. But, instead of transmitting visible light, we are transmitting microwaves. And these microwaves are bouncing off the asteroid and we are receiving it back. These received microwaves, they carry the imprint of asteroids that helps us learn about its characteristics. On October 30th, this is our very first track. We are going to use both Goldstone and Arecebo radars to get the images of this asteroid. And then October 31st, during the closest approach, we are going to have a short track, when Goldstone is transmitting and Arecebo is receiving. And, then a little bit later we are going to have this long track where Goldstone is transmitting and Green Bank Telescope is receiving. At this point we expect to achieve our highest resolution images. We are expecting them to be really spectacular and that they are going to show a wealth of surface features. So, stay tuned!

 

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