1998 KY26

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1998 KY26
Asteroid 1998 KY26.faces model.jpg
Three views of a computer model of asteroid 1998 KY26
Discovery [2][3]
Discovered by Spacewatch
(Tom Gehrels)[1]
Discovery site Kitt Peak Obs.
Discovery date 28 May 1998
(discovery: first observed only)
MPC designation 1998 KY26
NEO · Apollo[2][4]
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 3
Observation arc 11 days
Aphelion 1.4816 AU
Perihelion 0.9841 AU
1.2329 AU
Eccentricity 0.2018
1.37 yr (500 days)
0° 43m 12s / day
Inclination 1.4810°
Earth MOID 0.0024 AU · 0.93 LD
Physical characteristics
Dimensions 0.03 km[5]
0.1782 h[6]
0.1784 h[5][7]
0.124 (derived)[4]
25.0[6] · 25.5[2][4][5]

1998 KY26 is a nearly spherical sub-kilometer asteroid and fast rotator, classified as near-Earth object of the Apollo group, approximately 30 meters in diameter. It was first observed on 2 June 1998, by the Spacewatch survey at Kitt Peak National Observatory during 6 days, while it passed 800,000 kilometers (half a million miles) away from Earth (a little more than twice the Earth–Moon distance).[3][1]

Orbit and classification[edit]

The asteroid orbits the Sun at a distance of 1.0–1.5 AU once every 16 months (500 days). Its orbit has an eccentricity of 0.20 and an inclination of 1° with respect to the ecliptic. It has an Earth minimum orbital intersection distance of 0.0024 AU (359,000 km), which translates into 0.93 lunar distances.[2]

It is one of the most easily accessible objects in the Solar System,[8] and its orbit frequently brings it on a path very similar to the optimum EarthMars transfer orbit.[2] This, coupled with the fact that it is water rich, makes it an attractive target for further study and a potential source of water for future missions to Mars.[9]

Physical properties[edit]

1998 KY26 has been characterized as a potentially metallic X-type asteroid.[4]


With a rotation period of 10.7 minutes it has one of the shortest sidereal days of any known object in the Solar System, and cannot possibly be a rubble pile.[6][5][7]

1998 KY26 is the smallest Solar System object ever studied in detail and, with a rotational period of 10.7 minutes, was the fastest-spinning object observed at the time of its discovery: most asteroids with established rotational rates have periods measured in hours. It was the first recognized minor object that spins so fast that it must be a monolithic object rather than a rubble pile, as many asteroids are thought to be. Since it was found to be a fast rotator, several other small asteroids have been found to also have short rotation periods, some even faster than 1998 KY26.

Optical and radar observations indicate that 1998 KY26 is a water-rich object.[9]

These physical properties were measured by an international team of astronomers led by Dr. Steven J. Ostro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The team used a radar telescope in California and optical telescopes in the Czech Republic, Hawaii, Arizona and California.

Unusually for a body so small, it's shape is fairly regular.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Spacewatch discovery of 1998 KY26". SPACEWATCH Project. 7 April 2004. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: (1998 KY26)" (1998-06-08 last obs.). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "1998 KY26". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "LCDB Data for (1998 KY26)". Asteroid Lightcurve Database (LCDB). Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Ostro, Steven J.; Pravec, Petr; Benner, Lance A. M.; Hudson, R. Scott; Sarounová, Lenka; Hicks, Michael D.; et al. (June 1999). "Radar and Optical Observations of Asteroid 1998 KY26". Science. 285: 557–559(SciHomepage). Bibcode:1999Sci...285..557O. doi:10.1126/science.285.5427.557. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c Hicks, M. D.; Weissman, P. R.; Rabinowitz, D. L.; Chamberlin, A. B.; Buratti, B. J.; Lee, C. O. (September 1998). "Close Encounters: Observations of the Earth-crossing Asteroids 1998 KY26 and 1998 ML14". American Astronomical Society. 30: 1029. Bibcode:1998DPS....30.1006H. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Pravec, P.; Sarounova, L. (June 1998). "1998 KY26". IAU Circ. (6941). Bibcode:1998IAUC.6941....2P. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "1998 KY26". Retrieved 25 April 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "Astronomy Picture of the Day: Asteroid 1998 KY26". Nasa. 2002-09-19. Retrieved 1 August 2017. 

External links[edit]