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Emily LakdawallaAugust 6, 2009

Triple asteroid 1994 CC rotation animation

From the "just plain cool" department. I love animations of planetary images and I love radar images of asteroids -- so this animation is doubly cool. The only thing I don't like about radar images is that they have a lot of salt-and-pepper noise. So I fiddled with the animation they released, doing a Gaussian blur on each frame to try to reduce the effect of the noise. I think it helps make the rotation more visible, but if you'd like to see the original you can check it out on Photojournal.

Triple asteroid 1994 CC

NASA / JPL / GSSR / Emily Lakdawalla

Triple asteroid 1994 CC
The Arecibo radio telescope captured numerous Doppler-delay radar images of triple asteroid 1994 CC over 77 minutes on June 12, 2009. Doppler-delay images plot Doppler shift on the horizontal axis and distance from the telescope on the vertical axis. The image shows three components of 1994 CC, one large one about 700 meters in diameter, and two much smaller ones about 50 meters in diameter. The relatively fast rotation of the larger body spreads it out in the horizontal direction; the other two are probably locked into synchronous rotation with the large body, so rotate much more slowly. You can actually see features on the large body rotate into and out of view with the body's counterclockwise rotation. This version of the image has been blurred to counteract the distracting effect of noise. The original image can be downloaded here.


Read more: pretty pictures, animation, data art (was amateur image processing), radar imaging, asteroids, Earth impact hazard, near-Earth asteroids, radio telescopes

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Emily Lakdawalla

Solar System Specialist for The Planetary Society
Read more articles by Emily Lakdawalla

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