Questions tagged [asteroids]

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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Would They Tell Us If An Unstoppable Threat Was Approaching [closed]

This recent piece somewhat kindled my thoughts on this question, but I've pondered it for a while now: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-movie-of-the-evolving-universe-is-potentially-scary/ ...
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How quickly can a ring system be made?

I've seen elsewhere that if a terrestrial planet had a ring system, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) for life to evolve due to the shadow the rings would cast on the temperate zone in ...
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Closest stable orbit about the sun of an asteroid?

What is the closest perihelion an asteroid in stable orbit could have? Is there a limit defined by orbital mechanics or could an object be in stable orbit, only too close that melting or sublimation ...
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Comet Neowise c2020 f3 will return in ~6800 years, how can we be sure Earth will be in the right place to see it then?

I have read in several places that the orbital period of comet Neowise c2020 F3 is about 6800 years. In several popular media sources it is said that we will be able to see the same comet after ~6800 ...
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Which solar system objects have the least stable solar orbits?

My research is not giving me anything definitive. Are the Apollo asteroids orbits less stable than the Centaurs or any Trojans, or is another class of objects in less stable solar orbits? On what ...
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What would an asteroid inside of Mercury's orbit be called?

The first Vatira asteroid has been discovered. This makes me wonder if there is already a name for the hypothetical class of asteroids that orbit entirely inside of Mercury's orbit. It wouldn't be the ...
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What could be the name of a huge asteroid I watched some years ago?

Some years ago I was with my family in Venezuela. I'm not sure about the date/hour, but probably it was somewhat around 2007 in the afternoon. We were talking when one of us saw a huge meteor moving "...
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Has a near earth object in heliocentric orbit ever been bright enough to be visible to the unaided eye?

The question Can we see asteroid 1998 OR2 with unaided eye? got me thinking. Space.com's Vesta: Facts About the Brightest Asteroid says: Vesta is the second most massive body in the asteroid belt, ...
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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?
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Help identifying a very slow-moving object during meteor shower photography

I just wonder if anyone could shed any light on this puzzle. Two nights ago whilst I was out photographing the Lyrids meteor shower from the UK something else showed up on my images when I checked ...
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Identify moving object in the sky at night?

So last night 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 difficult to ...
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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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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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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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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 ...
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What is the typical chemical composition of the most common asteroid types?

I'm trying to make a semi-scientific accurate game where you can find/mine asteroids. I want the composition of asteroids, and how common they are to be correct. Or at least as close to correct as ...
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What's the difference between semi-major axis and apoapsis?

The semi-major axis is half of the diameter of the major axis of an ellipse by definition. So how does that make it any different from apoapsis, the furthest point an object is from a parent body in ...
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What are other names for planetoids that aren't orbiting a solar system, but hurtling through space?

I'm trying to think of a good word for an asteroid/planetoid that has no stable orbit but has been ejected from a system and is passing close to a sun. Any help?
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If we've only observed Oumuamua as a single pixel, how can we know its shape?

On a separate Oumuamua question (Oumuamua alien space junk?), I was confused how shape could be inferred from a single pixel, per another user's (@Uwe) comment. It was suggested I ask this question ...
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Gravitational Properties of Asteroids

How large would an asteroid have to be in order to hold a person so that the person could not escape?
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Oxygen isotope analysis [duplicate]

Where can I get a oxygen isotope analysis $^{18}O$ / $^{16}O$ vs $^{17}O$ / $^{16}O$ done commercially ? I witnessed a meteorite fall near me; it looks to be martian andesite. My first number $SiO_2$ ...
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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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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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Could there be a M-type asteroid beyond Jupiter?

Is there any reason to think an M-type asteroid could not have migrated beyond Jupiter and entered an orbit similar to the Centaurs?
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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 ...
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Could this estimate of the size and mass of the Chicxulub Impactor be accurate?

My understanding has always been that the Chicxulub Impactor was in all likelihood an asteroid with a diameter of about 8 - 12 km, but then, the other day, I came across this paper. In it, they say ...
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How big a rock can hit the sun and it not matter? [duplicate]

If a rock the size of Oumuamua were to crash into the sun — assume central collision — would it materially affect the sun’s behaviour? Would unaided humans (rather than sun-tastic special telescopes) ...
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Plant on large Asteroid?

I'm just curious if it is possible for a plant to survive on a large asteroid. Some say no, some say it depends. With the scenario of an asteroid at about 1 AU from the Sun, receiving a similar ...
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Tallest cliffs, by falling duration

If you threw something over a certain cliff on a moon of Uranus, it would take over ten minutes to hit bottom. By this measure, local fall time rather than absolute height, what are the near ...
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Are these stars in MASCOT image of Ryugu?

Are these stars in this MASCOT image of Ryugu? Larger image: https://www.sciencealert.com/images/2019-08/processed/RocksOfRyuguStranglyFamiliar_1024.jpg They seem too bright to be stars (if the ...

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