Asteroids In the News





Bizarre shape of interstellar asteroid   BBC - November 20, 2017
An asteroid that visited us from interstellar space is one of the most elongated cosmic objects known to science, a study has shown. Discovered on 19 October, the object's speed and trajectory strongly suggested it originated in a planetary system around another star. Astronomers have been scrambling to observe the unique space rock, known as 'Oumuamua, before it fades from view. Their results so far suggest it is at least 10 times longer than it is wide. That ratio is more extreme than that of any asteroid or comet ever observed in our Solar System.




Primordial asteroids discoveries include a void in the main belt and the oldest family of asteroids   Science Daily - August 3, 2017
Astronomers recently discovered a relatively unpopulated region of the main asteroid belt, where the few asteroids present are likely pristine relics from early in solar system history. The team used a new search technique that also identified the oldest known asteroid family, which extends throughout the inner region of the main asteroid belt.




Clues to ancient giant asteroid found in Australia   PhysOrg - May 16, 2016
Scientists have found evidence of a huge asteroid that struck the Earth early in its life with an impact larger than anything humans have experienced. Tiny glass beads called spherules, found in north-western Australia were formed from vaporized material from the asteroid impact. The impact would have triggered earthquakes orders of magnitude greater than terrestrial earthquakes, it would have caused huge tsunamis and would have made cliffs crumble.




Congress Passes Landmark Space Mining Rights Bill   Epoch Times - November 11, 2015
The Senate has passed legislation expected to spur the development of the space mining industry, by establishing property rights for minerals harvested in outer space and lengthening the period for which space companies would be exempt from certain regulatory bodies. Rare earth minerals are abundant on asteroids throughout the solar system, including the six platinum group metals, and the value of minerals buried inside a single asteroid could figure in the hundreds of billions.




Asteroid Impacts 3.3 Billion Years Ago Caused Earth's Oceans To Boil   Huffington Post - May 28, 2015
Some 3.3 billion years ago, monster asteroids -- in some cases bigger than Rhode Island -- repeatedly slammed into the Earth with impacts so violent that air temperatures soared to 932 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks at a time, according to a new study published in the journal Geology.




'Largest ever asteroid impact' found in Australia   BBC - March 24, 2015
The 400-kilometre (250-mile) wide area is buried deep in the earth's crust and consists of two separate impact scars. The team behind the discovery, from the Australian National University (ANU), said the asteroid broke into two before it hit, with each fragment more than 10km across. The impact is thought to have occurred at least 300 million years ago. The surface crater has long since disappeared from central Australia's Warburton Basin but geophysical modeling below the surface found evidence of two massive impacts.




Largest-ever meteorite crater found in Australian outback   Telegraph.co.uk - March 23, 2015
Scientists have discovered two deep scars in the earth's crust in outback Australia that are believed to mark the remains of a meteorite crater with a 250-mile diameter the largest ever found. The scars are each more than 120 miles in diameter and are believed to mark the spot where a meteorite split into two, moments before it slammed into earth. The impact is believed to have occurred more than 300 million years ago.




Asteroid impacts on Earth make structurally bizarre diamonds   PhysOrg - November 21, 2014
Scientists have argued for half a century about the existence of a form of diamond called lonsdaleite, which is associated with impacts by meteorites and asteroids. A group of scientists based mostly at Arizona State University now show that what has been called lonsdaleite is in fact a structurally disordered form of ordinary diamond.


  Two Rings for Asteroid Chariklo   NASA - April 9, 2014
Asteroids can have rings. In a surprising discovery announced two weeks ago, the distant asteroid 10199 Chariklo was found to have at least two orbiting rings. Chariklo's diameter of about 250 kilometers makes it the largest of the measured centaur asteroids, but now the smallest known object to have rings. The centaur-class minor planet orbits the Sun between Saturn and Uranus. The above video gives an artist's illustration of how the rings were discovered. As Chariklo passed in 2013 in front of a faint star, unexpected but symmetric dips in the brightness of the star revealed the rings. Planetary astronomers are now running computer simulations designed to investigate how Chariklo's unexpected ring system might have formed, how it survives, and given the asteroid's low mass and close passes of other small asteroids and the planet Uranus, how long it may last.


Icy Chariklo asteroid has ring system   BBC - March 26, 2014
The asteroid Chariklo has been confirmed as the smallest object in the Solar System to display a ring system. Encircling bands of material are more usually associated with the giant planets, such as Saturn and Uranus. Chariklo may be just 250km wide but observations made when it passed in front of a distant star reveal the presence of two distinct rings.




  Watch Potentially Hazardous Asteroid Whip Past Earth   National Geographic - February 18, 2014
A giant space rock three times the size of football field is about to sail past Earth. Its passage will be broadcast live around the world via the web. Thankfully there was no chance of collision.


A close call in space tonight: Asteroid zips by Earth   CNN - February 18, 2014
Only in space would 2 million miles be considered a close call. An asteroid with an estimated diameter of three football fields zoomed by Earth late Monday, missing our home by about that distance. It traveled at some 27,000 miles per hour.




Rock from heaven is a scientists' delight   PhysOrg - February 12, 2014
A year ago on Saturday, inhabitants of the Russian city of Chelyabinsk looked skyward, some frozen in fear that a nuclear war had begun. Overhead, an asteroid exploded in a ball of fire, sending debris plummeting to Earth in brilliant streaks. The shockwave blew out windows, hurting about 1,600 people, and the burst of ultraviolet light was so strong that more than two dozen people suffered skin burns. Today, enshrined in Russia's folk memory as a big scare, the Chelyabinsk Meteorite, for space scientists, is a boon. They say it has yielded unprecedented insights into the makeup and orbit of asteroids and the risks that a rogue rock may pose to Earth. Only a few asteroids ever cross Earth's path. Fewer still survive the fiery contest of friction with the atmosphere. Those that do are likely to fall in the sea, which covers more than two-thirds of the planet, or in a remote area, such as desert, tundra or Antarctica.





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