Questions tagged [asteroids]

Questions regarding relatively small rocky bodies in an orbit around the Sun.

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2answers
619 views

Orbits of Trojan Asteroids

I understand that the Trojan points are located 60 degrees ahead and behind a planet in its orbit. However, since there are quite a number of Trojans in Jupiter's orbit, they cannot all be exactly at ...
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Estimating close approach between all asteroids themselves

I am currently writing a C++ program to show asteroids in 3D, and find close approaches or collisions. I got my orbital elements from JPL https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb_query.cgi. So far so good, with ...
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Has anyone back-calculated previous close encounters between the Apophis asteroid and Earth?

The Apophis asteroid was only discovered in 2004, and shares an orbit similar to Earth's orbit, leading to many close encounters on the scale of decades. Most of the stories about this asteroid are ...
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1answer
828 views

What are the most valuable meteorites and asteroids in terms of precious metals?

There were some suggestions that asteroids could one day be mined for precious metals. I have found an outdated study that says that some siderites contain as much as 0.001% of gold: http://pubs.usgs....
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Is there a collection or list of all planned observations of 99942 Apophis during its 2021 close pass to Earth?

For example, I found Goldstone Radar Observations Planning: 99942 Apophis in 2021 and 99942 Apophis 2021; Planned, Scheduled and Completed Observations at lawn.com? which seems empty. But I'll bet the ...
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1answer
767 views

Opportunities to see a near earth object via unaided eyes or binoculars?

I would like to see a near earth object proper with my eyes or binoculars someday. Has this been possible recently? Are there any upcoming potential opportunities to do so in say the next 20 or 50 ...
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1answer
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How loud was the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs?

Asteroid impacts on the Earth can be very loud when they break up in the atmosphere, like Chelyabinsk, captured in this video: The Chelyabinsk asteroid break-up was ...
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How early could we detect an asteroid the size of the one that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs?

Would we know months, years ahead? How sophisticated is our technology's ability to detect it at 100% accuracy?
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Could the dinosaurs have seen the asteroid that killed them?

Wikipedia says the Chicxulub impactor is thought to have been a 10-15 km diameter object. Would it have been visible to a (human*) naked eye before impact? And if so, would it have appeared like a ...
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Other side of Earth when the Dinosaur-killer struck

When the (Chicxulub) asteroid hit Yucatan, what was it like in the minutes, days and weeks afterward on distant locations on Earth? Related How loud was the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs?
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How to tell where a meteorite came from

I am told in a lecture that some particular meteorite is from Vesta. How can we know that a particular meteorite is from there?
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Identify moving object in the sky at night?

Last night in the Carribean, I was looking at the sky at about 8PM EST, and I noticed this really tiny object moving pretty fast from left to right, just between the two stars in the photo. It's very ...
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1answer
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Prograde to retrograde orbital path

Is there a planet or planetary moon flyby path that could send a solar prograde orbiting asteroid into a retrograde solar orbit?
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Slow moving, flashing star-like object in the sky. What could it be?

The sky was particularly clear last night and I noticed an extremely bright star. I thought it was venus possibly but it was too low down and was flickering craziy. That meant that it couldn't be a ...
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Is extraterrestrial mining more difficult or impractical for bodies without plate tectonics?

This article talks about the possibility of mining Uranium on the moon. Since the Moon lacks the geological forces that have created veins of concentrated minerals on Earth, would extraterrestrial ...
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1answer
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Would it be possible to discover an asteroid belt around another star?

With existing or planned technology (e.g. the ELT or the JWST), would it be possible to infer the presence of a ring of asteroids similar to our own asteroid belt? Or would any signal be drowned out ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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Origins of meteorites?

I am aware that the vast majority of meteorites come from the asteroid belt (including 4 Vesta), with some from the Moon and Mars. Are there any other locations from which meteorites have originated (...
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1answer
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Do we finally have a decent set of parameters of 162173 Ryugu?

"Give a man a watch and he will know the time; give him two and he will never be sure" - this was my impression when reading the Wikipedia article on 162173 Ryugu. Mean diameter: 0.865±0....
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1answer
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What if you 'placed' the Chicxulub asteroid onto the Earth? [closed]

We all know what sort of devastating impact an asteroid could have if it collided with the Earth. But I'm curious to know what the effects would be if you removed the speed element from it, and were ...
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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 ...
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2answers
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Ceres is spherical, Vesta isn't – is it the largest non-spherical solid body in the solar system?

I was showing a recent video about Ceres to a friend and we looked up asteroids. Ceres has attained a fairly spherical shape, but Vesta still has a way to go. From Wikipedia: Vesta's shape is close ...
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Are there any moons of minor planets that orbit at high inclination to the plane of rotation of the parent body?

It occurred to me that one of the ringed asteroids or minor planets may answer this question about the alignment of planetary rings. However, it appears that the rings of Chariklo, Haumea and Chiron (...
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1answer
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Are there any estimates for the combined mass of all near earth objects (NEOs)?

I tried looking around but couldn't find any sources attempting to answer this particular question. It's obviously impossible to know the exact answer, but all I'm looking for is an estimate. My ...
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1answer
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What is the YORP effect exactly? Is it just the non-central component of the Yarkovsky effect?

This answer to Where have all the Vulcanoids gone? links to the aptly-titled The YORP Effect Can Efficiently Destroy 100 Kilometer Planetesimals At The Inner Edge Of The Solar System which says in ...
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Observed meteors on Venus?

In an article on Venus by JPL from 1996 I read Due to the dense Venusian atmosphere, primary impact craters of less than a 3 kilometer (2 mile) diameter are nonexistent. I am now wondering whether ...
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1answer
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What did I see go by saturn?

I was looking at Saturn through a basic reflective telescope. I had it focused and could see the rings. To the left a small dim white dot came across my view passing in about 3 seconds from my north ...
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1answer
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Why are asteroids with circular orbits rare?

Regarding this excellent question by Swike: Why are asteroids with zero orbital inclination rare?, I recently proposed that orbits with zero inclination are rare as a natural result of the statistical ...
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Why are asteroids with zero orbital inclination rare?

This is a plot of orbital inclination ($i_p$) vs. semi-major axis ($a_p$) of 96944 asteroids in the Main Belt, done by Piotr Deuar. Some structure can be seen in this diagram; clumps are asteroidal ...
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1answer
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Where have all the Vulcanoids gone?

This answer to Does anything orbit the Sun faster than Mercury? explains that while Vulcanoid asteroids may have been plentiful in the past, large ones have currently been ruled out though smaller ...
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Does anything orbit the Sun faster than Mercury?

Mercury's orbital period around the Sun is about 88 days. Comets and other things have gotten closer to the Sun than Mercury does. But has there ever been an asteroid or some other body discovered ...
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What are the maximum and minimum impact speeds for an asteroid that would strike the Earth?

I gather that the impact speed depends on the radius of the orbit of the asteroid. Is the orbit of asteroids in the same direction around the sun, or can they move in the "opposite" direction?
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Why do we only have one major meteor shower from 3200 Phaethon?

When talking to my son about the Geminid meteor shower tonight, we read up on 3200 Phaethon, and were curious: why is there only one meteor shower from 3200 Phaethon, and not two? Given its orbit, ...
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Do astronomers generally agree that the distinction between comets and asteroids is not so clear?

edit: I just saw this tweet and find it incredibly relevant :) begin question: See this answer and then consider if there are known or likely solar system bodies that might be identified as both ...
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1answer
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Is 486958 Arrokoth (2014 MU69 aka Ultima Thule) the only solar-system object determined to be binary by occultation?

The asteroid 486958 Arrokoth was discovered to be binary by astronomers lugging a bunch of telescopes around (I think) camping with them. The timing offered additional astrometry for the orbit ...
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1answer
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What would a 220km diameter asteroid impact do to Earth?

I was looking at this chart, which shows that an order of magnitude increase in asteroid impactor diameter roughly corresponds with two orders of magnitude increase in it's rarity. So if the K-T ...
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What caused this mysterious stellar occultation on July 10, 2017 from something ~100 km away from 486958 Arrokoth?

In 2017 a series of stellar occultations by asteroid 2014 MU69 "Ultima Thule" now officially named 486958 Arrokoth were timed in order to obtain better orbital information before the New ...
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1answer
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Are we less safe now that Arecibo is no more?

update 3: uhoh! Source: Reddit update 2: Sadly, parts of the dish have collapsed, several cables have snapped, and the Arecibo radio telescope is now decommissioned and demolition has been ...
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Size and Mass of a typical “small” asteroid that impacts the Earth?

I'm looking for some realistic data about the size (in meters) and mass (in kg) of a typical small asteroids that impact the Earth, without disintegrating in the atmosphere. Any suggestion ?
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Why do Jupiter impact events look dark brown?

When a large asteroid impacts a rocky planet, the impact area becomes molten, looking red. However, when an asteroid or other large object impacts a gas giant, like Jupiter, the impact area turns dark ...
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Will the United States Presidential Election (day asteroid) be back soon?

My google news feed is awash with mono-themed articles, including a near Earth asteroid that passed by around election day 2020 in the US. We can all hope that neither will lead to an extinction level ...
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If an Asteroid was to strike the Earth, would it affect the Earth's rotation?

If an Asteroid was to strike the Earth, would it affect noticeably the Earth's rotation, and if so, how large would this Asteroid have to be?
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1answer
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Is there any known asteroid or comet whose path goes through the Earth?

Is there any known celestial body of at least 500 ft (150 m) diameter whose Minimum Orbit Intersection Distance (MOID) is within the Earth, meaning it's sure that it can impact the Earth? I know Comet ...
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1answer
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Do we know if there are asteroids leading or following Earth in Earth's orbit around the Sun?

A search of the Internet is so clouded with discussions about the asteroid belt or asteroids orbiting the planet Earth that I couldn't see an answer to my question. Do we know if there are asteroids ...
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1answer
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Is a literal instance of Russell's teapot possible?

Much has been said about Russell's teapot, and I accept as obvious that a teapot would be too small to be detectable in an orbit around the Sun by any reasonable method today, or by any method that ...
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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?...
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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 ...
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What do we know about the relation of shape to size in asteroids?

Have enough good measurements been made of small asteroids to gather interesting statistics about roundness? Perhaps a scatter chart of each body's greatest and least diameter?
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2answers
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Why does the background noise in this image of 2020 QG look like corduroy?

The news item Small asteroid becomes closest ever seen passing Earth: NASA contains a "handout image" with the caption: This NASA/JPL/ZTF/Caltech Optical Observatories handout image ...
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Is there a way to tell the difference between earth andesite from Mars

I'm curios if there is a way to test if this sample might be Martian andesite. What type of oxygen isotope (or other) test can be done to address this in some way? As background, any information ...

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