‘Potentially dangerous’ asteroid that recently passed Earth is an elongated oddity with a strange rotation

A collage of six planetary radar observations of asteroid 2011 AG5 captured a day after the rock approached Earth on February 3. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Astronomers recently got a closer look at a “potentially dangerous” asteroid as it whizzed safely past Earth, and what they saw surprised them: The Rombergart is unusually elongated for an asteroid and spinning much slower than expected.

The asteroid anomaly, known as 2011 AG5, was discovered in January 2011 by the Mount Lemmon Survey using a telescope based near Tucson, Arizona. Rombergart made headlines at the time because scientists predicted that the asteroid’s orbit around the Sun, which takes about 621 days, could put it on a devastating collision course with Earth in 2040. But follow-up observations in 2012 revealed that its orbit had been significantly miscalculated and that it poses no real threat to our planet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *