Flyby Comet Imaged By Radar

Radar data of comet P/2016 BA14 taken over three days (March 21—23, 2016), when the comet was between 2.5 million miles and 2.2 million miles (4.1 million kilometers and 3.6 million kilometers) from Earth.

Radar images and data from the flyby indicated that the comet is about 3,000 feet (1 kilometer) in diameter.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR

On March 22nd, comet fragment P/2016 BA14 made the 3rd-closest approach to Earth of any comet in recorded history. NASA researchers took advantage of the comet’s proximity and pinged its icy core using the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California’s Mojave Desert. Newly released images reveal a 1-km wide strangely-shaped object spinning once every 35 to 40 hours:

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