PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Peanuts! Peanuts! Get your peanuts!
A single giant peanut -- big enough to obliterate an entire baseball stadium -- recently flew past Earth. The peanut isn't actually a peanut, but an asteroid named 1999 JD6.
Last week, the asteroid's closest approach towards Earth (still 4.5 million miles away) was imaged by two radio telescopes -- NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in California, and the National Science Foundation Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
NASA created a video using a succession of photos in order to animate the asteroids topsy turvy trajectory. The short video represents a time span of nearly eight hours.
The newly collected data may help scientists better understand the oddly shaped asteroid.
"I'm interested in this particular asteroid because estimates of its size from previous observations, at infrared wavelengths, have not agreed," Sean Marshall, a graduate student at Cornell University, said in a press release. "The radar data will allow us to conclusively resolve the mystery of its size to better understand this interesting little world."
Maybe more interesting than its elusive size, is its peanut shape. Researchers have categorized the asteroid as a contact binary -- two lobes that appear to have smashed together and become stuck.
The asteroid's trajectory sees it rotate end over end. Its vertical (long) axis measures some 1.5 miles.