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
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.

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]