|Much more awesome video version here.
|Of course the other other QE2's threat factor may have been underestimated.
*Well, we've travelled a year into the future. Compared to a year ago, I mean.
These are the shape models from the Arecibo radar observations (not to scale - QE2 is on the left and the moonlet is on the right), generously provided by Sondy (as, in fact, were most of the numbers in the rest of the post, which means I have someone to blame if anything's wrong). By sheer fluke, it turns out that 1998QE2 is pretty spherical, so my earlier renderings weren't complete nonsense.
What this lets us (and by us I mean Sondy) determine is a more accurate measure of the mass and density of 1998QE2 and its moon... which I'm going to call Prince Charles, for obvious reasons. Since one theory of binary asteroid formation involves the larger one spinning so fast it splits in two, thinking of QE2 as the parent may not be entirely inaccurate.
|The formation mechanism of the other Prince Charles was rather
different, but no less terrifying.
|Left : Earth's moon, seen from the Earth. Right : Prince Charles seen from 1998QE2.
But the most fun implication from the mass is the density - 0.7 kg per cubic meter. That's less than water. And that means this asteroid, with the same name as a large famous ship, would float. I love this rock.
|And yes, those are QE2-sized ocean liners.
|Of course the water transparency wouldn't be anything like this - it would be, at best, twenty times less than this.
So here we have a world with the same name as a famous ship, of such low density that it would float (though only for a little while before disintegrating), and which is so small you could jump off of it and land on its moon - which could legitimately be confused with a space station. If there's a more awesome asteroid, I'd very much like to hear about it.