Thunderpig’s Mirror

Newly Discovered Asteroid Is A Fast-Spinner

Posted by Thunder Pig on May 29, 2008

British amateur astronomer Richard Miles has discovered the fastest rotating natural object known in our solar system.

His observations, made using a telescope normally shared by students and professional scientists, have proved that the newly-discovered asteroid, 2008 HJ, is revolving once every 42.7 seconds, classifying it is as a superfast rotator. His discovery will boost our sparse knowledge of near-Earth asteroids and is another successful find for the Faulkes Telescope near-Earth asteroid project.

Miles made his discovery April 29 using the Faulkes Telescope South at Siding Spring, Australia, which he operated remotely via the Internet from his home in Dorset. Confirmation of his discovery was formally announced by the International Astronomical Union on May 22. The previous record holder was asteroid 2000 DO8, discovered eight years ago and found to rotate once every 78 seconds. The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) was involved in the initial set-up of the Faulkes Telescope Project and continues to provide support.

Source: Astronomy Magazine
Related: Earth Impact Risk Summary
Related: Neo DyS Object List

Since the asteroid masses around 5,000 tons (It is 12 x 24 meters) , that means on most of the surface, visitors would be tossed off the surface by the velocity of the rotation!

The asteroid passed nearest to earth on April 29th at about 670,000 miles away.


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