Latest Asteroid Stories

Image 1 - Models Reveal That Vesta Is Likely Cold And Dark Enough For Ice
2012-01-26 05:40:12

Though generally thought to be quite dry, roughly half of the giant asteroid Vesta is expected to be so cold and to receive so little sunlight that water ice could have survived there for billions of years, according to the first published models of Vesta's average global temperatures and illumination by the sun. "Near the north and south poles, the conditions appear to be favorable for water ice to exist beneath the surface," says Timothy Stubbs of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in...

Image 1 - Astronomers Release Unprecedented Data Set On Celestial Objects That Brighten And Dim
2012-01-13 04:53:21

Astronomers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Arizona have released the largest data set ever collected that documents the brightening and dimming of stars and other celestial objects–two hundred million in total. The night sky is filled with objects like asteroids that dash across the sky and others–like exploding stars and variable stars–that flash, dim, and brighten. Studying such phenomena can help astronomers better...

More Than One Moon For Earth?
2011-12-22 08:43:02

Researchers at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu say they have found that Earth could have at least two moons orbiting it at any one time, after finding a near-earth satellite (NES) in our orbit just a few years ago. The scientists then created a model showing how other satellites interact with our gravitational pull. "At any given time, there should be at least one natural Earth satellite of 1-meter diameter orbiting the Earth,” said Mikael Granvik of UH Honolulu and his...

Image 1 - NASA Developing Comet Harpoon For Sample Return
2011-12-14 10:29:44

[ Watch the Video ] The best way to grab a sample of a rotating comet that is racing through the inner solar system at up to 150,000 miles per hour while spewing chunks of ice, rock and dust may be to avoid the risky business of landing on it. Instead, researchers want to send a spacecraft to rendezvous with a comet, then fire a harpoon to rapidly acquire samples from specific locations with surgical precision while hovering above the target. Using this "standoff" technique would allow...

Image 1 - Geminid Meteor Shower Peaks Tonight
2011-12-13 09:18:14

[ Watch the Video ] The 2011 Geminid meteor shower peaks on the night of Dec. 13-14, and despite the glare of a nearly-full Moon, it might be a good show. "Observers with clear skies could see as many as 40 Geminids per hour," predicts Bill Cooke of the NASA Meteoroid Environment Office.  "Our all-sky network of meteor cameras has captured several early Geminid fireballs.  They were so bright, we could see them despite the moonlight." The best time to look is between 10 pm...

Dawn Reveals Vesta's 'Color Palette'
2011-12-07 05:46:54

[ Watch the Video ] Vesta appears in a splendid rainbow-colored palette in new images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The colors, assigned by scientists to show different rock or mineral types, reveal Vesta to be a world of many varied, well-separated layers and ingredients. Vesta is unique among asteroids visited by spacecraft to date in having such wide variation, supporting the notion that it is transitional between the terrestrial planets -- like Earth, Mercury, Mars and Venus --...

Image 1 - Lutetia Found To Be A Rare Survivor From Earth's Birth
2011-11-11 11:03:39

[ Watch the Video ] New observations indicate that the asteroid Lutetia is a leftover fragment of the same original material that formed the Earth, Venus and Mercury. Astronomers have combined data from ESA´s Rosetta spacecraft, ESO´s New Technology Telescope, and NASA telescopes. They found that the properties of the asteroid closely match those of a rare kind of meteorites found on Earth and thought to have formed in the inner parts of the Solar System. Lutetia must, at some...

Life On Earth Survives Another Day As Asteroid Misses By Miles
2011-11-09 06:06:28

[ Watch the Video ] The Earth faced a close-call on Tuesday, or as close of a call as it will face from the same asteroid for the next 83 years. The asteroid 2005 YU55 made its closest fly-by to Earth on Tuesday evening at 29,000 miles-per-hour about 202,000 miles away. The asteroid is the largest asteroid making a cameo appearance so close to Earth in over 30 years. Several radar telescopes throughout North America set up live feeds for people to watch as the asteroid whizzed by...

NASA Captures Image Of Large Asteroid Passing Earth
2011-11-08 04:30:48

NASA's Deep Space Network antenna in Goldstone, Calif. has captured new radar images of Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing close to Earth. The asteroid safely will fly past our planet slightly closer than the moon's orbit on Nov. 8. The last time a space rock this large came as close to Earth was in 1976, although astronomers did not know about the flyby at the time. The next known approach of an asteroid this size will be in 2028. The image was taken on Nov. 7 at 11:45 a.m. PST, when the...

Latest Asteroid Reference Libraries

2009-04-28 17:17:08

Johann Daniel Titius was born on January 2, 1729 in Konitz, Royal Prussia. He was a professor at Wittenberg. He is most famous for the Titius-Bode law, which helped him find the existence of a minor planet at 2.8 AU from the sun in 1766. The planet was later named Ceres. Titius died in Wittenberg on December 11, 1796. To his honor, the Titius asteroid in 1998 and the Titius lunar crater are named after him.

2004-10-19 04:45:44

Lagrangian Point -- In Lagrangian mechanics, a Lagrangian point (or L-point) is one of five positions in space where the gravitational fields of two bodies of substantial but differing mass combine to form a point at which a third body of negligible mass would be stationary relative to the two bodies. Bodies at the L-point will not move relative to the parent bodies if they are not perturbed by other gravitational forces. They are sometimes also referred to as libration points. The...

2004-10-19 04:45:42

Planet -- A planet is a body of considerable mass that orbits a star and that doesn't produce energy through nuclear fusion. Until recently, only nine were known (all of them in our own Solar system). As of the end of 2002 over 100 are known, with all of the new discoveries being extrasolar planets. Astronomers often call asteroids minor planets, and call the larger planetary bodies (those which are commonly called planets) major planets. Planets within the solar system can be...

2004-10-19 04:45:41

Asteroid -- An asteroid, also called a minor planet or planetoid, is a member of a group of small, planet-like bodies that are part of our solar system. They are believed to be remnants of the interstellar clouds, nebula, that were not incorporated into planets during the formation of the solar system. The largest asteroid in the inner solar system is Ceres with a diameter of 1003 km. It also was the first to be discovered, by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Nowadays, over 9000...

Solar System
2012-10-22 06:09:41

The Solar System refers to the area in space that is dominated by our own Sun. It is comprised of the Sun and its associated astronomical objects that are held in its gravitational orbit. The Solar System was formed as a result of the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The mass of this system is located almost entirely in the Sun. Apart from the Sun, a high percentage of the remainder of the system’s mass is located in the eight solitary planets that...

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Word of the Day
  • The prevailing range of a vocal or instrumental part, within which most of the tones lie.
This word is Italian in origin and comes from the Latin 'textura,' web, structure.