The new observations allowed to detect that the outdoor past year, the asteroid is actually made up of two rotating around each other are the same object. It's pretty common for large asteroids to link up with smaller ones, with about 15 percent of near-Earth asteroids over 650 feet (200 meters) being binary pairs.
The asteroid's uncommon nature was hidden from researchers until very recently, though.
During its fly-by, NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar (GSSR) in California detected something unexpected - two distinct mounds jutting out of its body. The fact that the last observation used the time of the closest approach of the asteroid to Earth when he flew a distance of about 6 million kilometers. Because of its orientation in the sky, though, it was unclear if the asteroid was one abnormally shaped mass or two separate entities.More news: Tour de France: Tearful Richie Porte crashes out with shoulder injury
Then the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Green Bank Observatory in West Virginia did something wonderful: using a technique called "bi-static radar configuration" Arecibo broadcasted a radar signal to detect 2017 YE5, which Green Bank then received. Together, they would study the asteroid using a bi-static radar configuration, in which radar signals are bounced off the asteroid by Arecibo and received by GBO. Together, they were able to confirm that 2017 YE5 consists of two separated objects.
The Arecibo, Goldstone and USRA planetary radar projects are funded through NASA's Near-Earth Object Observations Program within the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO), which manages the Agency's Planetary Defense Program.
Its dual nature wasn't the only odd attribute to come to light, either.
The two objects are roughly the same size, which is a much rarer occurrence than binary asteroids, where one is much larger than the other.More news: India's Supreme Court Reconsiders Gay Sex Ban
Radar imaging shows that the two objects are larger than their combined optical brightness originally suggested, indicating that the two rocks do not reflect as much sunlight as a typical rocky asteroid.
Despite being size twins, the asteroids probably have a different surface composition, density or surface roughness (or more than one of those factors), since their individual reflectivity differed.
In addition to the resources NASA puts into understanding asteroids, the PDCO also partners with other US government agencies, university-based astronomers, and space science institutes across the country, often with grants, interagency transfers and other contracts from NASA.More news: Pogba dedicates France win to rescued Thai players