1998 KY26

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1998 KY26
Asteroid 1998 KY26.faces model.jpg
Three views of a computer model of asteroid 1998 KY26.
Discovered by Spacewatch, Tom Gehrels
Discovery site Arizona
Discovery date 1998-05-28
Minor planet category Apollo Apollo
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 2455000.5
Aphelion 1.4804157
± 7.2381e-07 AU
Perihelion 0.98381275
± 1.6462e-07 AU
± 6.0241e-07 AU
Eccentricity 0.2015247
± 4.9736e-07
1.37 ± 1.003e-06 yr
(499.5453 ± 0.00036636 d)
± 0.002236°
Inclination 1.481086
± 9.0515e-06°
± 5.0927e-05°
± 9.7658e-05°
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 30 metres (98 ft)
10.704 min

1998 KY26 (also written 1998 KY26) is a small near-Earth asteroid. It was discovered on June 2, 1998, by Spacewatch and observed until June 8, when it passed 800,000 kilometers (half a million miles) away from Earth (a little more than twice the Earth–Moon distance). It is roughly spherical and is only about 30 metres (98 ft) in diameter. Although it is nearly small enough be classified a meteoroid, the most common definition uses a diameter of 10 m as the demarcation, which makes 1998 KY26 an asteroid.

With a rotation period of 10.7 minutes it has one of the shortest sidereal days of any known object in the Solar System, and cannot possibly be a rubble pile. It is also one of the most easily accessible objects in the Solar System,[3] and its orbit frequently brings it on a path very similar to the optimum EarthMars transfer orbit.[2] This, coupled with the fact that it is water rich, makes it an attractive target for further study and a potential source of water for future missions to Mars.[4]

Physical properties[edit]

Asteroid 1998 KY26 is the smallest solar system object ever studied in detail and, with a rotational period of 10.7 minutes, was the fastest-spinning object observed at the time of its discovery: most asteroids with established rotational rates have periods measured in hours. It was the first recognized minor object that spins so fast that it must be a monolithic object rather than a rubble pile, as many asteroids are thought to be. Since 1998 KY26 was found to be a fast rotator, several other small asteroids have been found to also have short rotation periods, some even faster than 1998 KY26.

Optical and radar observations indicate that 1998 KY26 is a water-rich object.[4]

These physical properties were measured by an international team of astronomers led by Dr. Steven J. Ostro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team used a radar telescope in California and optical telescopes in the Czech Republic, Hawaii, Arizona and California.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Spacewatch discovery of 1998 KY26". SPACEWATCH Project. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  2. ^ a b 1998 KY26 at the JPL Small-Body Database
  3. ^ "1998 KY26". Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Astronomy Picture of the Day: Asteroid 1998 KY26". Nasa. 2002-09-19. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009. 

External links[edit]