• July 31, 2008

    Episode 174: Two for the Price of One

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    The Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project scans the skies for asteroids in an attempt to find 90% of all the asteroids larger than 0.6 mile (1 km) in diameter by the end of 2008. In January 2008, LINEAR found an object now called Asteroid 2008 BT18. Original calculations suggested the asteroid was going to pass nearby the earth. Asteroid orbits can be altered by the Earth's gravity, so the trajectory was uncertain. Luckily the object passed almost six times the distance between the Earth and Moon. But astronomers got a good look at the object, which turned out to be a lot more interesting than originally thought -- it's a binary asteroid.