1998 KY26

From Academic Kids

The asteroid 1998 KY26 (also written 1998 KY26) was discovered on June 2, 1998 by Spacewatch and observed until June 8 while it passed 800,000 kilometers (half a million miles) away from Earth. The asteroid has a shape similar to a sphere of about 30m (100 ft) diameter. Its most fascinating characteristic is that it is fast-spinning and water-rich. This discovery is attributed to an international team of astronomers led by Dr. Steven J. Ostro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team used a radar telescope in California and optical telescopes in the Czech Republic, Hawaii, Arizona and California.

Asteroid 1998 KY26 is the smallest solar system object ever studied in detail and was the fastest spinning object observed at the time of its discovery. Its rotational period is 10.7 minutes. Most asteroids with established rotational rates have periods measured in hours. It was the first recognized asteroid which spins fast enough that it must be a monolithic object rather than a rubble pile as most asteroids are thought to be. Since 1998 KY26 was found to be a fast rotator, several other small asteroids have been found to also have short rotation periods, some even faster than 1998 KY26.

Three views of a computer model of Asteroid 1998 KY26.
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Three views of a computer model of Asteroid 1998 KY26.

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