Amateur astronomer discovers fastest spinning object in solar system

This video from the USA is called Asteroid 2007 TU24 Close Approach.

From the BBC:

Record spin for newfound asteroid

The fastest spinning natural object in the Solar System has been discovered by a British amateur astronomer.

The compact stony asteroid 2008 HJ – completes a full rotation once every 42.7 seconds, according to its discoverer Richard Miles.

That measurement smashes the previous record held by the asteroid 2000 DO8, which spins once every 78 seconds.

The new finding was made by the amateur astronomer while operating the Faulkes Telescope South in Australia.

2008 HJ is estimated to be some 12m by 24m in size – smaller than a tennis court. Yet it probably has a mass in excess of 5,000 tonnes.

It was moving at almost 162,000km/h (100,000 mph) when it hurtled past the Earth in late April. Despite being classified as a “near-Earth asteroid”, it came no closer than one million km and never posed a threat to our planet.

But the discovery adds to astronomers’ sparse understanding of very small asteroids in near-Earth orbits.

Dr Petr Pravec, an astronomer at the Ondrejov Observatory in the Czech Republic, and an expert in the field, commented: “A period of 42.7 seconds for an asteroid with a size of about 20 meters is perfectly consistent with theory.

“There may be a significant population of asteroids measuring up to a few tens of metres across, rotating in less than a minute, that have not been observed until now.”

Mr Miles made the discovery while operating the Australian telescope remotely, via the internet, from his home in Dorset.

The sun is less magnetically active than similar stars, and we don’t know why. Why our star seems so different from its stellar kin is a mystery: here.

9 thoughts on “Amateur astronomer discovers fastest spinning object in solar system

  1. May 31, 12:41 AM EDT

    Phoenix Mars Lander has short-circuit problem

    Associated Press Writer

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Scientists for the Phoenix Mars Lander are wrestling with an intermittent short circuit on the spacecraft.

    The problem is in a device that will analyze ice and soil dug from the planet’s surface, the scientists said Friday. The short circuit was found during testing done before the mission’s experiments get under way.

    The short circuit isn’t considered critical, said William Boyton of the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Boynton is in charge of the device that will heat and analyze samples scooped up by the lander’s robotic arm.

    He said scientists know what is triggering the problem and what actions make it go away, and are working on solutions.

    Phoenix was designed to study whether the Martian north pole region could support primitive life forms and is to perform several experiments seeking traces of organic compounds.

    Team members in charge of the robotic arm said new photos show the lander may be resting on splotches of ice. Washington University scientist Ray Arvidson said the spacecraft’s thrusters may have uncovered the ice when the robot landed last Sunday. Mission planners aimed the craft to the red planet’s northern regions hoping to find ice just under the surface.

    “We’re really pushing for ice but we don’t know if that’s the case yet,” Arvidson said.

    The three-month mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

    On the Net:

    Phoenix Mars:


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