Contact binary (asteroid)

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In the study of asteroids, a contact binary is caused when two asteroids gravitate toward each other until they touch, forming an oddly-shaped single body. Asteroids suspected of being contact binaries include the unusually elongated 624 Hektor and the bilobated 216 Kleopatra and 4769 Castalia. 25143 Itokawa, recently photographed by the Hayabusa probe, also appears to be a contact binary which has resulted in an elongated, bent body. About 10–15% of near-Earth asteroids larger than 200 meters are expected to be contact binaries with two lobes in mutual contact.[1]

Candidate contact-binary near-Earth objects observed by radar[2]
Object Size (km)
(approximate)
Rotation period
(hours)
2063 Bacchus 1.0 15.1
4450 Pan 1.0 60
4486 Mithra 1.6 67.5
4769 Castalia 0.6 4
11066 Sigurd 3.0 8.5
(179806) 2002 TD66 0.3 9.5
2007 TU24 0.3 36
8P/Tuttle 4.5
2014 HQ124 0.4 20+

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Michael Busch (2012-03-12). "Near-Earth Asteroids and Radar Speckle Tracking". Retrieved 2014-02-28. 
  2. ^ Dr. Lance A. M. Benner (2013-11-18). "Binary and Ternary near-Earth Asteroids detected by radar". NASA/JPL Asteroid Radar Research. Retrieved 2014-03-01.