Linked Questions

18 votes
3 answers
5k views

What is the difference between asteroids, comets and meteors?

Some celestial objects seem to be referred to as asteroids, some as comets, and some as meteors or meteorites. What is the distinction between all of these different objects? Are any of them the same?...
user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
918 views

Is the point of this paper to say that Pluto's status as a planet should have been handled scientifically, rather than by a vote?

The abstract of a paper currently in-press in Icarus: The Reclassification of Asteroids from Planets to Non-Planets (Metzger et al. 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2018.08.026) says: It is ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.6k
6 votes
2 answers
724 views

Currently proposed ways to distinguish between a really big planet and a really small star

The Next Big Future article Rogue Exoplanet 12.7 times bigger than Jupiter is 20 light years away Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have made ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
734 views

What is the size of the largest asteroid orbiting the Earth, other than the Moon?

It seems odd to me that no other asteroid around the Earth is even close to the size of the Moon. Anyone have any idea about the size and orbit radius of Earth's "second moon" ?
Bragadeesh's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
242 views

What is an asteroid called if it is in deep space?

Pretty much every definition I've read about asteroids is something like "Asteroids are rocky worlds revolving around the sun that are too small to be called planets." What would an asteroid be ...
Brian's user avatar
  • 163
7 votes
2 answers
144 views

What is the difference between a depleted comet and an asteroid?

When a periodic comet flies by the Sun enough times, it can become depleted of its volatile elements. Once it is depleted, what distinguishes it from an asteroid, other than records of past sightings ...
usernumber's user avatar
  • 17.6k
8 votes
1 answer
446 views

Is there an established distinction between a geyser and a cryovolcano in solar system bodies?

Is there an established distinction between a geyser and a cryovolcano in the context of cold solar-system bodies such as the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or Kuiper belt objects (e.g. Pluto)? Both can ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.6k
2 votes
2 answers
193 views

What makes scientists already so certain that Comet C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is a comet and not an asteroid?

US Naval Research Laboratory scientist Dr. Karl Battams has recently tweeted Unlike 'Oumuamua, whose asteroid-or-comet nature still gets debated, this one is definitely a comet. If it is ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.6k
4 votes
2 answers
407 views

Solar Wind and Asteroid orbital behavior

Can the solar wind affect the orbital elements of a nearby asteroid? I would like to know if solar activity has an effect on the asteroid's orbit or gravitational stability and or can cause a ...
Ron's user avatar
  • 51
10 votes
1 answer
450 views

Is this object an asteroid or comet, and how can it produce so many tails?

The NASA Hubble Space Telescope Science Release HEIC 1320 - When is a Comet not a Comet? - Hubble astronomers observe bizarre six-tailed asteroid is self-explanatory, but it doesn't explain what ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.6k
3 votes
1 answer
288 views

Which is the farthest distance a particular distant known- identified object from the asteroid belt can get from the sun?

According to Space facts The Asteroid Belt is located in an area of space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. That places it between 2.2 and 3.2 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun But ...
Pablo's user avatar
  • 1,113
7 votes
1 answer
235 views

How to calculate the goldilocks zones of brown dwarf stars? Do any encroach on the stars' Roche limit?

Ignoring tidal heating and such, how can one calculate the habitable orbital ranges for M, L, T, and Y spectral class stars? The reason I ask is that I'm also curious if any of these zones encroach ...
H2Forge's user avatar
  • 363
1 vote
1 answer
369 views

Is there an alternative (potentially easier to understand) Euler diagram of the new solar system body classification?

note: This question is asking for a representation of the astronomical classification scheme now used for solar system bodies as established (presumably) by the Working Group for Planetary System ...
uhoh's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
193 views

Are there actual asteroids in the Oort cloud?

This answer to At what annual rate are new exoplanets being recognized? How does it compare to new asteroids? shows that the rate of new asteroid discovery is roughly two orders of magnitude higher ...
uhoh's user avatar
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