What is an Asteroid: A-Z Knowledge about Asteroids
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Suppose you are very angry with your mother because she is not letting you go out. You collect your anger, and at a point of time, you can not take it anymore. You punch your pillow. Now, you see cotton everywhere in your room. That’s how this planet and the entire universe were created. Seems funny? Let me take you 4.5 million years ago. A giant round-shaped ball of fire exploded millions of years ago, known as a Supernova. That is when asteroids came into existence with 9 other planets.
But unfortunately, asteroids cannot get the same position as planets. They hang out with planets mostly, but they have different hangout zones as well. Some of the asteroids are found between the orbits of planets.
What is the Asteroid Belt?
What’s your favourite cafe to hang out at? Asteroids are like the space between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Astronauts have found most of the asteroids in this region. The asteroid belt is so popular that you will find millions of asteroids. There is a popular belief of astronomers that says, “Asteroid belt is made up of material that was never able to form into a planet, or of the remains of a planet which broke apart a long time ago.” Asteroids are smaller than planets, but they also have sections in their world. Some are as big as 100,000 metres, and some are just a metre. The largest asteroid is called Ceres, and its size is about one-quarter the size of the moon. This is known as a dwarf planet as well.
How Are Asteroids Formed?
Asteroids are some heartbroken leftovers from the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. There are no planetary bodies between the gap between Mars and Jupiter. The birth of Jupiter prevented the formation of these bodies, and they became mere asteroids which are not a very active part of the solar system.
The understanding of the solar system’s evolution is changing day by day. So, there is no fixed asteroid definition. Two recent theories, the Nice model and the Grand Tack, suggest that the gas giants moved around before settling into their modern orbits. This movement could have sent asteroids from the main belt raining down on the terrestrial planets, emptying and refilling the original belt.
Types of Asteroids
Since humanity discovered the asteroids, they wanted to know what asteroids are made up of. Years of research and hard work found that there are different types of asteroids like C, S, and M.
- Most asteroids belong to the group C type (chondrite). These dark objects consist of silicate rocks and clay. This type of asteroid is considered the most ancient object of the solar system.
- The S-types are made up of silicate materials and nickel-iron.
- The combination of iron and nickel made an M-type of Space asteroid. The asteroids’ compositional differences are related to how far from the Sun they formed. Some of them melted because of high temperatures, with iron sinking to the centre and forcing basaltic lava to the surface.
What Are the Differences Between Comets, Asteroids and Meteoroids?
Asteroids and meteoroids are completely different objects made of two different materials. Comets contribute to planetary objects largely. A major difference between these three is mentioned below:
Comets: Formed during the birth of the solar system, comets are dirty space snowballs of mostly ice and dust. Most comets have stable orbits in the outer reaches of the solar system past the planet Neptune.
Meteoroids: The object we call “shooting stars” in a poetic term is called meteoroids in scientific language. Their sizes differ from a grain of sand to boulders 3 feet wide. After colliding with a planet’s atmosphere, these objects become meteors.
Asteroids: Unlike the other two, asteroids are formed during the supernova. Asteroids are also known as planetoids as they almost behave like planets but are smaller than them.
Asteroid Facts for Kids
May asteroids be leftovers of the planets, does this mean that they will live a melancholic life? No way! These planetoids have fun in their way and create planetary bodies like Trojan asteroids. Here are some interesting facts about asteroids in space:
- Asteroids are known as “Starlike” because many astronauts mistook them as stars. *Cries in corner*.
- Ceres is the first forefather of asteroids and the largest even to this day.
- Millions of asteroids are there in the asteroid belt.
- Asteroids believe in a joint family concept. There was a Karin family that had formed around 5.7 million years ago from a single object after a collision. They were born together and formed families as per their ages.
- Movies have always fooled us by showing that you can see each other standing on different asteroids. While they follow the opposite rule: “Objects in a mirror are closer than they appear”. They are very far from each other.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Which Asteroid Killed Dinosaurs?
Answer: An asteroid killed all the species, including dinosaurs. Researchers found that this asteroid is still on Earth, and they measured it.
2. Which Scientific Agency Recently Discovered Evidence of Water in Asteroids?
Answer: Nasa’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has recently discovered the presence of aqueous, hydrated minerals on asteroids.
3. What Is the Name of the Largest Asteroid?
Answer: Ceres is the largest asteroid in history.
4. What Is the Temperature of the Asteroid Belt?
Answer: The temperature of the asteroid belt ranges from 200 K (-73 °C) at 2.2 AU down to 165 K (-108 °C) at 3.2 AU.
5. When Did an Asteroid Last Hit Earth?
Answer: In 2013, an asteroid fell in Russia, disintegrating a 20 KM area.
Hope this blog has answered all of your questions regarding an asteroid. These planetoids tried their best to get recognised as a planet. But unfortunately, they could not and I think, it still gives them trouble and pain.