Geographos shows the most extreme variations in its light curve of any object in the Solar System: the amount of light it reflects varies by a factor of 6.5 over the course of an axial rotation. This indicates that Geographos is either very elongated – a cigar-shaped object viewed along a line perpendicular to its spin axis – or is a pair of objects nearly in contact that orbit each other around their center of mass (see binary asteroid. Possibly it acquired its strange form after being splintered off a larger body or by stretching through tidal forces produced during a past close encounter with Earth.
The asteroid's name was chosen to honor the National Geographic Society for its support of the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey.
Related category NOTABLE ASTEROIDS, CENTAURS, AND KUIPER BELT OBJECTS
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