^
Keep Houston Press Free
4

Giant Asteroid Slid by for NASA Photo-op

Lots of asteroids zoom by the planet over the course of the year (that's why NASA actually tracks and counts all the ones it can find) but one of those asteroids zipped by Earth recently, and this time NASA scientists were ready. Yep, 2014 HQ124 was more ready for its closeup than Norma Desmond at the end of Sunset Boulevard and NASA scientists managed to capture some of the sharpest radar images of a near-Earth asteroid ever shot, according to the NASA people themselves.

Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California tracked the 1,200-foot-wide asteroid as it passed 776,000 miles away from the planet last week. Then they used radar to capture 21 images as the asteroid flew past. This may not sound terribly impressive, but it's actually quite a feat, especially since the Near-Earth Object Program Office (aka "Spaceguard" aka "the people who watch out for large incoming objects that might hit our planet") just started tracking this thing in late April.

Each image captured represents 10 minutes of data and was collected by pairing a giant telescope in California, a smaller one about 20 miles away with another telescope in Puerto Rico. The scientists collected data for more than four hours to put together the final images. That may not sound terribly impressive, but keep in mind they were taking pictures of a chunk of spinning rock as it passed just, you know, more than 700,000 miles away.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.