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Radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2, flying past the Earth today, show that it has its own moon.
When astronomers analyzed radar readings to create their first maps of 1998 QE2, the big asteroid that’s due to sail past Earth on Friday, they were surprised to find that it has a moon twice as big as an ocean liner. 1998 QE2 itself is way bigger: The latest readings from NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif., are consistent with earlier estimates that the asteroid is about 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers wide). But the moon is hefty as well. Astronomers estimate its diameter at 2,000 feet (600 meters).