Questions tagged [asteroids]

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

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6
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2answers
335 views

Do astronomers generally agree that the distinction between comets and astroids is not so clear?

edit: I just saw this tweet and find it incredibly relevant :) begin question: First see this answer and then consider if there are known, or likely to be identified cases of solar system bodies that ...
11
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2answers
582 views

How was Earth's “quasi-satellite” 2016 HO3 “first spotted” and it's orbit determined?

Under a question I asked a few days ago Have there been any documented mini-moons since 2006 RH120? @Hobbes mentioned the recent news about 2016 HO3 - a near-Earth asteroid that stays near Earth ...
16
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3answers
3k 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?...
3
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1answer
104 views

What is the physical geometry of this apparent “eclipse” of a tiny moon of Asteroid Florence?

Below is a small GIF made from a small subset of images contained in the original 36MB GIF found at https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/images/news/florence.p5us.1Hz.s382.sep01.gif as I just found in the Sky ...
8
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1answer
272 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 ...
0
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1answer
118 views

Are there any known asteroids with average density similar to that of Earth's?

In this answer I mention that for very low orbits around spherical bodies, the period tends to scale only as the inverse square root of the density, and not the diameter. For a low orbits where the ...
5
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1answer
138 views

Could stellar occultations be used to survey Kuiper belt objects?

The first hint we had as to the shape of Ultima Thule was via an occultation study using an array of small telescopes. Has anyone investigated the feasibility and effectiveness of conducting a survey ...
5
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2answers
420 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
3k views

How is the path of an asteroid calculated?

How do scientists and astronomers recognize the perfect path or orbit (if it's orbiting an object) of an asteroid or a comet?
19
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3answers
3k views

Why did the distribution of asteroids discovered in 2010 have a radial modulation?

This answer links to one of Scott Manley's excellent asteroid videos Asteroid Discovery - 1970-2015 - 8K resolution. The animation highlights the positions of the meteors at the moment of their ...
8
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1answer
5k views

Does Jupiter help to protect the Earth against comets/asteroids impacts?

Does Jupiter help to protect the Earth against comets or asteroids impacts? Some astronomers believe that one reason Earth is habitable is that the gravity of Jupiter does help protect us from some ...
5
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1answer
439 views

Where might astrometric observations of the Roadster spacecraft be catalogued?

above: (see small red lines near center of image) Tesla Roadster. 18 Feb. 2018, 11:28 UT. The image above comes from the average of ten, 300-seconds exposures, remotely taken with the 16”-f/3.75 ...
5
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1answer
244 views

How big will Apophis appear?

How big will Apophis appear in the sky at its closest point of approach in 2029? Will it compare to the moon? How long will it linger as it passes?
4
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2answers
925 views

Could an asteroid knock the moon out of its orbit?

As describe in this CNN article, an asteroid is going to pass near the Earth on Halloween. The article says that As it misses Earth by about 300,000 miles (slightly farther away than the moon), ...
3
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3answers
128 views

What causes these asteroid trails to be so strangely shaped and repeated?

The Phys.org news item Hubble is the ultimate multitasker: Discovering asteroids while it's doing other observations includes the image below. What causes these asteroid trails to be so strangely ...
2
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2answers
129 views

What measures are currently in place to detect asteroids on possible collision courses with earth?

I know some measures must exist, but I have no idea what the programs are, what organizations are involved, or how effective they are.
2
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1answer
92 views

Temporary family member 2020-CD3

So, recently I came to know that this asteroid is orbiting Earth from past 3 years and still it is orbiting. It is kind of a mini Moon to the Earth know to have come from asteroid-belt. Is there ...
1
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1answer
195 views

Good source for the relationship between absolute magnitude, diameter, and albedo?

In this answer I have rearranged an equation from somewhere, and now I can not relocate the source. My re-aranged form is: $$M_{Abs} = 5 \left(\log_{10}(1329) -\frac{1}{2}\log_{10}(\text{albedo}) -\...
73
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2answers
13k views

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 ...
9
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3answers
3k views

How well would the Moon protect the Earth from an Asteroid?

Would the Earth fare better if the Moon blocked the meteor, comet, rogue planet, or otherwise rather than a direct impact? At what point would the Moon's debris would be an extinction event? The ...
8
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1answer
250 views

Detecting Deep Impact

There have been several accounts in media articles of asteroid near misses, many describe that the asteroid was not seen before the near miss. After reading the question and answer to How can we tell ...
7
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2answers
176 views

Can the Gaia telescope detect small temporarily captured asteroids near its Lagrange orbit?

The Gaia space telescope is in a Lissajous orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrange point 2. The orbit period is about 180 days and the size of the orbit is 263,000 x 707,000 x 370,000 km. It has been ...
5
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2answers
254 views

Which measurements have shown that 2014 MU69 is red? (New Horizons' next target)

The recent NASA feature article New Horizons: Possible Clouds on Pluto, Next Target is Reddish MU69 is actually the smallest KBO to have its color measured – and scientists have used that data to ...
9
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1answer
483 views

How is the total mass of all the Solar System's small asteroids and meteoroids estimated?

This diagram from wikipedia (shown below) graphs asteroid Diameter against Number of asteroids, for the Solar System. (Graphic is courtesy of the Marco Colombo, DensityDesign Research Lab). ...
6
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1answer
425 views

How can we tell if the asteroid 2013 TV135 will hit Earth in 2032?

Some astronomers in Ukraine have estimated that there is a small likelihood (1 in 63,000) that the asteroid 2013 TV135 will strike Earth in 2032. (source) Don Yeoman of NASA JPL says: with more ...
5
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1answer
6k views

If an asteroid was to collide with Earth, how much warning would we have?

I was talking to my 9-year-old son about the Florence asteroid that is passing close to the earth. He wanted to view youtube videos about that asteroids, and we saw the starting of this one https://...
4
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2answers
872 views

Collision of asteroid and gaseous planet - what would happen

What happens when asteroids (or other small bodies) "collide" with a gas planet? In my head it would either go through it or just stay "inside" it due to the strong gravity. I tend to believe in the ...
4
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1answer
179 views

Has Hubble ever been used to try to image a near Earth asteroid?

This answer points out that the near Earth asteroid Apophis will likely be close to 2 arcseconds in diameter as seen from Earth during its close approach in 2029. I speculate that if the Hubble Space ...
2
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1answer
67 views

What star was the asteroid 2014 MU69 predicted to occult on 2018-08-04?

From a search, I found a list of some preparatory HST observations made for the August 4, 2018 occultation of a star by the asteroid 2014 MU69 We propose observations in support of the upcoming New ...
2
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1answer
79 views

Rendering asteroid orientation as seen from Earth

I am writing a program to render an asteroid as seen from various parts of the solar system. My goal is to roughly reproduce the image of Cacus according to information on its DAMIT detail page. ...
6
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1answer
163 views

Would bagging an asteroid destroy valuable science about it?

NASA has a plan called "Asteroid Redirect Mission option A". It would robotically put an asteroid of a few meters diameter in a bag and push it into reach of astronauts for thorough examination. 44 ...
4
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1answer
104 views

What is the closest an asteroid or comet has passed the Sun and survived?

After SOHO began watching the Sun from space with its coronagraphs 24/7 it was discovered that there are comets passing very close to the Sun quite regularly, and while some are destroyed, some are ...
4
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1answer
116 views

How did Biden become VP? (naming of 2012 VP113)

The Carnegie Science article Solar System's Edge Redefined describes the discovery of the object 2012 VP113. Wikipedia's article 2012 VP113 says: Nickname: 2012 VP113 was abbreviated "VP" ...
4
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0answers
103 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
64 views

What's the number density of `Oumuamua like objects?

Recently, the fly-through the Solar system of the inter-stellar object (ISO) `Oumuamua caused quite a stir in the astronomy community. I wonder whether there are reliable estimates for the (local) ...
3
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3answers
57 views

Can we see asteroid 1998 OR2 with unaided eye?

Will I be able to see the asteroid 1998 OR2 with the naked eye on April 29? If so, where can I find more information on when and where I'll be able to see it?
3
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3answers
232 views

Where do rocks come from?

Consider a loose pile of rocks in an early solar system, say a tiny asteroid. As it accretes more and more material, the pressure at its center eventually becomes great enough to collapse the gaps ...
2
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1answer
274 views

Is Earth losing orbit? [duplicate]

Is the Earth losing or gaining distance from the sun overall? Could asteroids over time add weight to the Earth and push it farther from the sun more than having a degrading orbit around the sun? Does ...
2
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1answer
105 views

How close to Earth were the asteroids moving through this Hubble composite image?

Recently Hubble saw several asteroids traveling erratically through a deep field perspective. What region of the sky is this, and how near were these asteroids to the Earth? The photo is composed ...
2
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3answers
179 views

Do interstellar asteroids decelerate and eventually stop?

I do wonder, do interstellar asteroids eventually stop at one point in space after they gradually decelerate (or) even do they decelerate? Though there is no air like on earth and thus asteroids ...
2
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1answer
199 views

What (actually) defines an Aten-class near-earth asteroid?

I just read in the EarthSky.org article Hours after discovery, asteroid swept by that the near earth asteroid 2016 QA2 recently passed the earth at about 85,000 km. The article says that it is a ...
2
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1answer
147 views

How significant are the recent results that Scholz’s Star has perturbed several observed hyperbolic objects?

The Gizmodo article A Visiting Star Jostled Our Solar System 70,000 Years Ago refers to the the three year old ApJ. paper The Closest Known Flyby of a Star to the Solar System (also arXiv) which ...
1
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1answer
59 views

How are the three character IAU Minor Planet Center's Observatory Codes assigned? Why are some letters so popular?

Answers to Latitude, longitude and altitude of Ckoirama Observatory; where can things like this be looked-up? point to https://www.minorplanetcenter.net/iau/lists/ObsCodesF.html which currently lists ...
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2answers
131 views

How is IR spectroscopy used to determine the composition of asteroids?

I am trying to understand how spectrometers or spectroscopy can be used to calculate the surface composition of asteroids for the purposes of asteroid mining.
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2answers
107 views

Which observatories help NASA find 5 new asteroids per day?

I just read the following in the NPR website news article NASA's New 'Intruder Alert' System Spots An Incoming Asteroid. NASA pays for several telescopes around the planet to scan the skies on a ...
1
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1answer
219 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 ...
1
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1answer
356 views

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 ...
1
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2answers
238 views

How do they know how far out Farout is? (2018 VG18)

The Carnegie Science article Discovered: The Most-Distant Solar System Object Ever Observed begins: Washington, DC— A team of astronomers has discovered the most-distant body ever observed in our ...
-3
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1answer
147 views

What's the soonest Oumuamua could return? [closed]

Oumuamua is apparently a cigar-shaped asteroid that recently passed through the solar system on an unusual orbit, exhibiting unexpected acceleration. Oumuamua is known to have fairly minimal powers ...