AstroTalk Episode June 7, 2018

A Tiny Asteroid Over Africa. NEOWISE.

2:02pm - 3:01pm

A tiny asteroid named 2018 A (6 feet) disintegrated over Botswana on June 2, 9:44 AM PDT. No damage was reported. NASA's NEOWISE mission is using infrared to characterize 122 asteroids. The imagery will help determine the surface properties of these asteroids. Thermophysical modeling of the asteroids will help scientists better understand the surface properties of these asteroids. Engineers are testing baffles on the James Webb Telescope. The telescope will examine in infrared light, so the baffles are intended to dissipate the heat (that is generated by Webb's electronics) away from the mirrors of the telescope. The gold-plated baffles will direct this heat into space and away from the mirrors. The telescope's mirrors are also gold plated, because gold has a high reflectivity in the infrared spectrum.