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1998 KY26 is a nearly spherical sub-kilometer asteroid, classified as a near-Earth object of the Apollo group. It measures approximately 30 meters in diameter and is a fast rotator, having a rotational period of only 10.7 minutes. It was first observed on 2 June 1998, by the Spacewatch survey at Kitt Peak National Observatory during 6 days during which it passed 800,000 kilometers (half a million miles) away from Earth (a little more than twice the Earth–Moon distance).[3][1]

1998 KY26
Asteroid 1998 KY26.faces model.jpg
Three views of a computer model of asteroid 1998 KY26
Discovery [2][3]
Discovered bySpacewatch
(Tom Gehrels)[1]
Discovery siteKitt Peak Obs.
Discovery date28 May 1998
(discovery: first observed only)
MPC designation1998 KY26
NEO · Apollo[2][4]
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 4 September 2017 (JD 2458000.5)
Uncertainty parameter 3
Observation arc11 days
Aphelion1.4816 AU
Perihelion0.9841 AU
1.2329 AU
1.37 yr (500 days)
0° 43m 12s / day
Earth MOID0.0024 AU · 0.93 LD
Physical characteristics
Dimensions0.03 km[5]
0.1782 h[6]
0.1784 h[5][7]
0.124 (derived)[4]
25.0[6] · 25.5[2][4][5]

Orbit and classificationEdit

KY26 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]

As a result, KY26 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 propertiesEdit

The physical properties of KY26 were measured by an international team of astronomers led by Dr. Steven J. Ostro of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory using a radar telescope in California and optical telescopes in the Czech Republic, Hawaii, Arizona and California.

1998 KY26 is characterized as a potentially metallic X-type asteroid.[4] Optical and radar observations indicate that it is a water-rich object.[9]

KY26's rotation period of only 10.7 minutes means that it has one of the shortest sidereal days of any known object in the Solar System; most asteroids with established rotational rates have periods measured in hours. As a result, it cannot possibly be a rubble pile, as many asteroids are thought to be, and must instead be a monolithic object.[6][5][7] KY26 was the first such object to be discovered, but since 1998, several other small asteroids have been found to also have short rotation periods, some even faster than 1998 KY26.

Further readingEdit

  • Tholen, D. J. (September 2003). "Recovery of 1998 KY26: Implications for Detecting the Yarkovsky Effect (abstract only)". Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. 35 (4). Archived from the original on 14 February 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2009.


  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 (5427): 557–559(SciHomepage). Bibcode:1999Sci...285..557O. doi:10.1126/science.285.5427.557. PMID 10417379.
  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.
  7. ^ a b Pravec, P.; Sarounova, L. (June 1998). "1998 KY26". IAU Circ. 6941 (6941): 2. Bibcode:1998IAUC.6941....2P.
  8. ^ "1998 KY26". Retrieved 25 April 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Astronomy Picture of the Day: Asteroid 1998 KY26". Nasa. 19 September 2002. Retrieved 1 August 2017.

External linksEdit