PHOTO: NASA snaps shot of asteroid as it passes by Earth and it - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

PHOTO: NASA snaps shot of asteroid as it passes by Earth and it was accompanied by a special guest

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PHOTO: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory PHOTO: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
KHQ.com - If Earth was the air traffic control tower and Asteroid 2004 BL86 was Maverick from Top Gun, Maverick pretty much did a fly by and buzzed the tower on Monday. Asteroid 2004 BL86 came within about 750,000 miles of Earth and images captured by NASA actually showed that the asteroid had a little friend following it: a small moon. 

An asteroid with a moon? Yeah. NASA explained it like this: 

"The 20 individual images used in the movie were generated from data collected at Goldstone on Jan. 26, 2015. They show the primary body is approximately 1,100 feet (325 meters) across and has a small moon approximately 230 feet (70 meters) across. In the near-Earth population, about 16 percent of asteroids that are about 655 feet (200 meters) or larger are a binary (the primary asteroid with a smaller asteroid moon orbiting it) or even triple systems (two moons). The resolution on the radar images is 13 feet (4 meters) per pixel."

Monday's fly by is the closest that a known asteroid of 2004 BL86's size will come to Earth in the next 200 years. 


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