Questions tagged [asteroids]

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

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6
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3answers
475 views

Nomenclature of Interstellar Objects and Stars

I posted this question on the space exploration SE but people recommended that it would be more on-topic here. Could someone please help by giving some definite laws of nomenclature for celestial ...
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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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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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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
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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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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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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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1answer
151 views

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 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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1answer
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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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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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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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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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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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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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3answers
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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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1answer
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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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1answer
106 views

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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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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
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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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3answers
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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?

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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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