A diagram showing the average density of the two lobes of
, a suspected contact binary asteroid. The two lobes were likely originally separate bodies. Note that the lobes are in reality connected.
contact binary is a small Solar System body that is composed of two bodies that have gravitated toward each other until they touch. This means contact binaries have odd shapes. Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko [1 ] and [2 ] Comet Tuttle are most likely contact binaries. Asteroids suspected of being contact binaries include the unusually elongated 624 Hektor and the bilobated 216 Kleopatra and 4769 Castalia. 25143 Itokawa, which was photographed by the probe, also appears to be a contact binary which has resulted in an elongated, bent body. About 10–15% of Hayabusa near-Earth asteroids larger than 200 meters are expected to be contact binaries with two lobes in mutual contact. [3 ]
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