PIA09230: New Horizons Tracks an Asteroid
Target Name: 2002 JF56
Is a satellite of: Sol (our sun)
Mission: New Horizons
Spacecraft: New Horizons
Instrument: MVIC
Product Size: 300 x 300 pixels (width x height)
Produced By: Johns Hopkins University/APL
Full-Res TIFF: PIA09230.tif (90.33 kB)
Full-Res JPEG: PIA09230.jpg (2.097 kB)

Click on the image above to download a moderately sized image in JPEG format (possibly reduced in size from original)

Original Caption Released with Image:

The two "spots" in this image are a composite of two images of asteroid 2002 JF56 taken on June 11 and June 12, 2006, with the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC) component of the New Horizons Ralph imager. In the bottom image, taken when the asteroid was about 3.36 million kilometers (2.1 million miles) away from the spacecraft, 2002 JF56 appears like a dim star. At top, taken at a distance of about 1.34 million kilometers (833,000 miles), the object is more than a factor of six brighter. The best current, estimated diameter of the asteroid is approximately 2.5 kilometers.

The asteroid observation was a chance for the New Horizons team to test the spacecraft's ability to track a rapidly moving object. On June 13 New Horizons came to within about 102,000 kilometers of the small asteroid, when the spacecraft was nearly 368 million kilometers (228 million miles) from the Sun and about 273 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth.

Image Credit:
NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Image Addition Date:
2007-04-02