Asteroid 1998 QE2 is a near-Earth asteroid (NEO) that was discovered in 1998. As it approached Earth for a fly-by this month, powerful radio telescopes at the Goldstone Deep Space Network in California and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico were pointed towards the 2.7-km wide rock. As well as seeing surface details for the first time these new radar pictures show that 1998 QE2 has a small moon, about 600m across.
The asteroid will make its closest approach just before 10pm BST on 31st May, missing Earth by 5.8 million kilometres. Astronomers will continue to observe 1998 QE2 with radio eyes, gaining more data on the shape and composition of the asteroid and its moon, their rotations and orbits, to gain a better insight into their origins and eventual fates.