Discovered on February 10, 2002, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) asteroid 2002 CE26 will make a relatively distant approach to Earth within 0.123 AU (18.4 million km) on September 9, 2014. (Echo/JPL)
2002 CE26 is a binary asteroid consisting of a primary space rock 3.5 km in diameter and a secondary approximately one-tenth as wide. The most interesting thing is that radar data suggest the secondary space rock might have a moon of its own which, if true, would make 2002 CE26 a triple system.
NASA astronomers are pinging the system using the Goldstone radar in the Mojave desert since September 5. The Goldstone team should be able to get coarse-resolution images of the primary but echoes from the secondary will be weak and on the edge of detectability.
This asteroid should reach 14th magnitude while at favorable solar elongations, so it should be an excellent target for lightcurves which might detect the signature of at least one satellite and could help refine the orbital period.
Asteroid 2002 CE26
Asteroid 2002 CE26 orbit diagram by JPL for September 9, 2014.
Alberto Quijano Vodniza of the University of Narino Observatory in Colombia photographed the asteroid streaking through the constellation Pegasus on September 2:
Click here to set the scene in motion.
Image credit: Alberto Quijano Vodnica via SpaceWeather. Annotation by TW.
Featured image credit: Alberto Quijano Vodnica, September 2, 2014.
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