216 Kleopatra is an M-class (metallic) main belt asteroid,
discovered in 1880 by Johann Palisa, that
was the first ever to have its shape imaged by ground-based radar. It resembles
a dog bone the size of New Jersey.
|Artist rendition of Kleopatra. Credit:
Kleopatra's metallic composition indicates it came from the core of a large differentiated parent body that
was smashed apart. But the origin of its double lobe nature is uncertain.
It may have come about through the collision of two objects that had previously
been thoroughly fractured and ground into piles of loosely consolidated
rubble (see rubble-pile asteroid).
Or, Kleopatra may once have been two separate lobes in orbit around each
other with empty space between them, with subsequent impacts filling in
the area between the lobes with debris.
||217 × 94 km
ASTEROIDS, CENTAURS, AND KUIPER BELT OBJECTS