Astronauts using the Subaru Telescope have produced stunning images of the 1998 KY26, the future asteroid target of the JAXA Hayabusa-2 spacecraft.
1998 KY26 is an almost spherical and potentially metallic asteroid, classified as a near-Earth object of the Apollo group.
The object was discovered on June 2, 1998, by the Spacewatch study at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
1998 KY26 has a diameter of about 30 m (100 ft) and a rotating time of 10.7 min.
It orbits the sun at a speed of 1-1.5 AU (celestial units) once every 500 days.
1998 KY26 is one of two targets for close inspection with the extended Hayabusa-2 mission.
“After returning its reentry capsule to Earth, Hayabusa-2 flew for a new target object – a small distance called the 1998 KY26,” said Dr. Michitoshi Yoshida, director of the Subaru Telescope and astronomer at the Astronomical Observatory. National Japan.
“This is the first mission for this little asteroid, so it’s very meaningful both in terms of planetary science and planetary defense. ”
On December 10, 2020, KY26 was photographed alongside the Gemini constellation as a 25.4-size light spot.
“We successfully photographed the next asteroid for Hayabusa-2,” said Dr. Yoshida.
“We hope this data will contribute to Hayabusa-2’s new mission.”
“Not only will these Subaru Telescope observations be very important data for the extended Hayabusa-2 mission, they will also give impetus to future missions,” said Hayabusa-2 mission manager Dr. Makoto Yoshikawa, person- research at the JAXA Institute for Space and Astronautical Science.
“We’re grateful to everyone at the Subaru Telescope.”
The astronomers described their observations about 1998 KY26 in the Mini-planet electronic newsletter.
O. Hainaut et al. 1998 KY26. MPEC 2020-X181