Three views of a computer model of asteroid 1998 KY26.
|Discovered by||Spacewatch, Tom Gehrels|
|Minor planet category||Apollo|
± 7.2381e-07 AU
± 1.6462e-07 AU
± 6.0241e-07 AU
|1.37 ± 1.003e-06 yr
(499.5453 ± 0.00036636 d)
|Dimensions||30 metres (98 ft)|
Sidereal rotation period
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.
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, and its orbit frequently brings it on a path very similar to the optimum Earth–Mars transfer orbit. 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.
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.
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.
- Ostro, Steven J.; et al. (July 1999). "Radar and Optical Observations of Asteroid 1998 KY26". Science 285 (5427): 557–559. Bibcode:1999Sci...285..557O. doi:10.1126/science.285.5427.557. PMID 10417379.
- Tholen, D. J. (September 2003). "Recovery of 1998 KY26: Implications for Detecting the Yarkovsky Effect (abstract only)". Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 35 (4). Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- "Spacewatch discovery of 1998 KY26". SPACEWATCH Project. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- 1998 KY26 at the JPL Small-Body Database
- "1998 KY26". Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- "Astronomy Picture of the Day: Asteroid 1998 KY26". Nasa. 2002-09-19. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2009.
- MPEC 1998-L02
- Scott Hudson's Homepage: The Earth-Crossing Asteroid 1998 KY26
- Steven Ostro's Homepage: 1998 KY26
- Lipanović, Željko. "1998 KY26 Images". Archived from the original on 2009-10-22.
- Media Relations Office. Sun never sets, for long, on fast-spinning, water-rich asteroid (press release). Pasadena, California: Jet Propulsion Laboratory. July 22, 1999.