Arecibo Observatory/NASA/NSF

Arecibo telescope captures images of near-Earth asteroid

After suffering structural damage during Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's Arecibo Observatory is back online and monitoring the potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory reports. The radar's images reveal the ball-shaped asteroid is larger than previously estimated, coming in at about 6 kilometers wide, and about 10 times larger than asteriod Bennu, the target of NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, Newsweek reports. The Arecibo Observatory, which has the world's most powerful radar system, captured the images when Phaethon swung about 10 million kilometers from Earth or about 27 times the distance between Earth and the moon. That's the closest the asteroid will get until 2093, researchers estimate, meaning Phaethon is unlikely to come in contact with Earth.

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