What is interesting about the largest asteroids and their movement?
One of the planned areas of space research at NASA is the study of asteroids. What are they planning to look for on these bare cosmic boulders, what secrets do these silent pieces of stone have in them?
Currently, scientists have studied quite well the largest asteroids and their motion. It is impossible to briefly describe these bodies of the Solar System (more than seven hundred thousand of them have now been discovered). Where did the asteroids come from and what are they?
Planet number "four and a half"
Already in the eighteenth century, astronomers were relatively well-known scale and size of the solar system. Researchers Titius and Bose noticed that the ruler of the distances of the planets from the star fit into the correct mathematical sequence. That is only in one place the theory failed. The four first planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars corresponded to the mathematical model completely, and then ...
Jupiter, the fifth planet, ranked sixth. Between Mars and Jupiter lacked another celestial body.
The planets in the solar system, not counting our star, are the largest bodies. Asteroids and their movement were discovered and systematized later. At that moment, this failure in the sequence became a real challenge for astronomers.
The hunt for the planet "№ 4 ½" was not without drama and was crowned with success in 1801. The Italian scientist Piazzi congratulated the earthlings with the New, 1801 year, opening on January 1 the first small planet, later named after the ancient Greek goddess of fertility, Ceres.
A failed planet or a catastrophe of universal scale
Practically the second asteroid Pallas was discovered. Then two more: Juno and Vesta. The region of the system in which the largest asteroids are located was slowly determined. Their movement suggested that they were all parts of something big.
Thus arose the theory of the existence of the ancient planet Phaeton, orbiting between the planets Mars and Jupiter, and destroyed as a result of some cosmic cataclysm.
Do not miss the chance and ufologists, where do without them.According to them, the inhabitants of Phaeton visited our planet, being aborigines in the form of gods. They taught our prehistoric ancestors to writing, mathematics and other sciences, and, of course, built the ancient Egyptian pyramids.
And then Phaeton fell victim to the Phaetonians themselves, who played with some kind of their super-weapon.
However, later studies conducted by NASA using automatic interplanetary probes showed that the beautiful theory, alas, is untenable.
According to modern concepts, the remnants of the matter of the protoplanetary disk, which was not enough to form a full-fledged planet, rotate between Mars and Jupiter. And the giant gravitational field of the giant Jupiter would not allow a more or less large celestial body to form.
Plus two small minus one big
The first open asteroid Ceres has always stood out among the rest. In it, as it turned out later, one third of the mass of the entire asteroid belt is concentrated. With a diameter of about 1000 km, it is the only “inhabitant” of the belt - it has enough mass for hydrostatic equilibrium (formation of a spherical shape).
There is also a geology due to the immersion of heavier components, and only the largest of the cosmic bodies can boast of this.
Asteroids and their movement were closely studied with the advent of giant mirror telescopes, they began to open several thousand a year. And the faster their base grew, the more obvious the uniqueness in the asteroid belt of Ceres became.
In 2006, an event occurred that raised the status of this planetoid. A year earlier, several trans-Neptunian objects of comparable size to Pluto, which until then had been considered the ninth planet of the solar system, were discovered.
So, it was decided to deprive Pluto of the "title" of the planet. From now on, all such bodies became known as the “dwarf planet”. Under this definition came and Ceres. Thus, in the solar family it became more than two dwarf planets due to one high-grade and one asteroid.
The most "lively" movement of asteroids is concentrated, as already indicated, between Mars and Jupiter. However, the shape of the orbits of most of them is markedly different from the orbits of the planets moving in almost perfect circles.So, if the second largest asteroid of the Solar System, Vesta has an eccentricity of the orbit 0.089 and is constantly in the belt, then, for example, Eros moves differently.
At the highest point of the orbit, it is, as it should be, in the asteroid belt, and then, crossing the orbit of Mars, Eros rushes to the Earth, not reaching its orbit of "some" 20 million kilometers.
The 2005S4 is considered to be the asteroid with the most extended trajectory. At the far point, it “flies” far beyond the orbit of Mars, while in perihelion, it approaches the Sun 7 (!) Times closer than Mercury.
Danger to the Earth
There are many such cosmic “stones” of different sizes that intersect the orbit of the Earth and, consequently, theoretically capable of crashing into us. This is one of the reasons forcing scientists of all countries to study in detail the movement of asteroids.
Basic information about the orbits of the largest of them were obtained many decades ago. Fortunately, among them there are no candidates for a collision with our planet in the next few million years.
This, alas, cannot be said about smaller cosmic bodies as small as a hundred meters or less. Despite the fact that the number of open asteroids is approaching a million, astronomers are constantly discovering new and new. In addition, the asteroid belt is a rather “overpopulated rayonchik” of the solar system.Collisions with each other can easily dramatically change the orbit of a relatively small rock, as if from a sling, directing it to one of the planets.
However, it seems that brief data on the motion of asteroids may eventually begin to appear in the news of the economy. Recently, interest in studying them has been due to plans (so far, however, very far away) for developing them in the future as mineral deposits.
It is approximately estimated that the depth of Eros contains rare earth metals several times more than human civilization has mined and used throughout its history.