Asteroid that buzzed Earth has small moon

Global News

Watch the video above: NASA released a series of 20 images of the near-Earth asteroid 2004 BL86 taken on Jan. 26, as the rock made its closest approach to Earth.

TORONTO – As asteroid 2004 BL86 buzzed Earth on Monday, astronomers turned their eyes and telescopes to the sky, hoping to learn more about the rock — and they did.

READ MORE:Bright asteroid to buzz Earth: How you can see it for yourself

NASA’s 70-metre Deep Space Network antenna in California captured the first radar images, and found that BL86 — which is about 325 metres across — has a small companion: a moon that is just 70 metres across.

It’s not a complete surprise that an asteroid of this size has a moon. NASA says that about 16 per cent of asteroids that are 200 metres or larger are binary, meaning that they have a smaller moon orbiting it.

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