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Views of the Asteroid Toutatis, From Earth As Well As Close-Up

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the stone's-throw dept.

Space 23

When Chinese probe Chang'e buzzed the asteroid Toutatis, it wasn't the only one watching. NASA's observatory in Goldstone, CA was taking radar images, which have now been assembled into a short (40-second) animation. The craft was recording the encounter, too, as reported by Sky & Telescope, which also gives a good summary of the history behind Chang'e's mission.

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The good 'ol days (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308159)

Is it just me, or do the newer batch of asteroids resemble big poops? Back in my day, they resembled little moons. And get off my lawn!

Re:The good 'ol days (4, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308203)

Resolution really helps things...

It turned the face on Mars into a collection of rocks.

And more importantly... Porn pictures on computers are no longer fuzzy 16 color images resembling the naked form.. :)

Re:The good 'ol days (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308227)

Is it just me, or do the newer batch of asteroids resemble big poops? Back in my day, they resembled little moons. And get off my lawn!

My first thought was, "That looks like one ugly, badly grown potato!"

Re:The good 'ol days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42308269)

So you're saying it's hollow and the seventh chamber goes on forever?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eon_(novel) [wikipedia.org]

Re:The good 'ol days (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308293)

I doubt any asteroid will be found rotating around its long axis though.

Re:The good 'ol days (1)

Nostromo21 (1947840) | about a year and a half ago | (#42309199)

Why? Are you suggestion that precession (in an astronomical sense) doesn't affect asteroids just like any other large space object...?

Re:The good 'ol days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42312269)

Why? Are you suggestion that precession (in an astronomical sense) doesn't affect asteroids just like any other large space object...?

Asteroids are not a large space object, they're tiny. They don't have enough gravity or a stable enough orbit to develop a stable spin, so the parent was largely correct- you won't find them nicely rotating around any axis, much less the long one, but rather tumbling across all three axis.

Re:The good 'ol days (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42315899)

Umm, any rotating object spins around exactly one axis unless/until it's acted upon by some force (impact, gas jet, tidal influence, etc) that changes that axis. Now perhaps asteroids typically don't rotate around an axis that aligns nicely with the ecliptic plane since their angular momentum is likely influenced more by impacts than the net rotational inertia during formation, but any given asteroid still rotates around one well-defined axis.

Re:The good 'ol days (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308301)

Is it just me, or do the newer batch of asteroids resemble big poops? Back in my day, they resembled little moons. And get off my lawn!

The smaller the asteroid, the less moony and the more poopy it looks, and all the substantially moony have already been found.

Planetology also predicts that any sufficiently large poop becomes spherical and develops internal structure. Keep that in mind and don't forget to clean your back-in-my-days outhouse regularly!

Re:The good 'ol days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42346073)

That's one smelly near earth object. Wow, did that require some pushing on my part.
Now if you don't mind, I'd like to scootch across your lawn like a dog wiping its ass, and then run really fast in a large circle.
Have a good day.

Re:The good 'ol days (1)

S.O.B. (136083) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308633)

Back in my day, they resembled little moons.

That's no moon.

Re:The good 'ol days (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42311429)

Especially if your mooning and pooping on my lawn.

Confusing? (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308365)

According to yahoo news it is huge and Sky & Telescope says it is little. :)

Re:Confusing? (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308757)

That's what you get for asking Marketing Dept.

Re:Confusing? (1)

arisvega (1414195) | about a year and a half ago | (#42312901)

According to yahoo news it is huge and Sky & Telescope says it is little. :)

Also, TFA's source [space.com] has 16 (sixteen) collaborating spy/ad/crap/tracksites going nuts with scripts and cookies and all that.

By comparison, Slashdot has three: DoubleClick, Google Analytics and ScoreCard Research.

Space race, finally! (4, Insightful)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308367)

Thumbs up for the chineese. As much as I don't like their politcs & government, I am really happy that they will hopefully start a new space race. All the humanity will benefit from that.

Re:Space race, finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42311661)

until the made in china space vessels blow up due to leaky capacitors.

Re:Space race, finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42312401)

columbia,
challenger
what's your point actually?

Woo (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308371)

That gave me a little thrill. That's one of the building blocks of the future, folks, literally!

Re:Woo (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year and a half ago | (#42311421)

Not really, that was video taken on Dec 12 and Dec 13. Here is a video of what it will look like on Dec 21 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtQ6026V3Fc [youtube.com]

Well played Mayans. Well played.

How radar observations of asteroids work (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year and a half ago | (#42308783)

The radar images are great, but they're definitely not conventional photos - the viewpoint-from-Earth is actually from the 'top' of the image, looking down. They're constructed from a combination of distance measurements and Doppler shifts [planetary.org] , the latter thanks to the rotation of the asteroid.

So basically it means a single transmitter and single receiver can figure out a two-dimensional image from a vast distance - and it's nice that these images quite closely match the conventional, optical images taken by the Chang'e probe!

Asterix and Obelix would love to see this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42309237)

In fact, that one small village that still holds out against the invaders, would all get a few goose-bumps from having an asteroid named after their favourite god.

I have to assume that there's also a asteroid named Belenos and one named Belisima. Fun times reading those books - and now my kids love them. Thanks for bringing up the memories Slashdot.

the irony of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42318369)

how ironic... and i got mails from World Vision to sponsor chinese orphan kids in Yunan citing they are malnourished, subjected to child labour and miss out on schools. And here we are seeing Chinese launching multi-billion dollars space rockets.

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