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Asteroid

Introduction

Asteroids and meteoroids were created when the universe was young or as a result of a collision. Some travel through space on a circular journey, others erratically. Those that orbit the Sun between the planets of Mars and Jupiter are commonly referred to as Asteroids. The term Asteroids was coined by Sir William Herschel from the greek asteroeides, aster "star" + -eidos "form, shape". They were discovered after a search was carried out by astronomers who wanted to find out if a theory by Johannes Kepler was correct or not. Kepler predicted that the planets were spaced out according to a pattern of numbers. One of those numbers pointed to a location in space where there was no planet. After searching, the asteroid Ceres was found. One theory is that asteroids are believed to be the remnants of a planet that once existed but was destroyed by the gravititional pull of Jupiter. A second theory has at the beginning of the solar system, debris left over from the creation of the universe bonded together to form planets such as Venus, Mars, Earth and Mercury. However due to Jupiter`s gravitational pull, no planet could form between Jupiter and Mars. Afterwards more asteroids were found whch led astronomers to the conclusion of a asteroid belt containing hundreds of small and large objects. Their paths are erratic, it is believed that one of these asteroids hitting Earth is the cause of the destruction of the dinosaurs.

You`ve also probably seen Farscape episodes such as Bone to be Wild where the crew of Moya hide out in an asteroid field or in the Star Wars film Star Wars V - The Empire Strikes Back where the Millenium Falcon hides in an asteroid belt and think asteroids are all close together. The truth is that asteroids are not tightly packed in as they are in the film.

Asteroids exist in two main areas around the Sun, the first is the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter and the second is in the kuiper belt outside the orbit of Neptune. The Kuiper Belt includes the now demoted planet of Pluto to dwarf-planet status. The Asteroid Belt also contains a dwarf planet that is known as Ceres.

Asteroids fall into three catagories :- 1221 Amor, 1862 Apollo and 2062 Aten. The table below gives a brief description of what they mean.


AmorsAsteroids which cross Mars orbit but do not quite reach the orbit of Earth. Eros -- target of the NEAR mission -- is a typical Amor.
ApollosAsteroids which cross Earth`s orbit with a period greater than 1 year. Geographos represents the Apollos.
AtensAsteroids which cross Earth`s orbit with a period less than 1 year. Ra-Shalom is a typical Aten.

What is the Biggest Asteroid?

The biggest asteroid is Ceres, now classed as a dwarf planet. It is situated between Mars and Jupiter and doesn`t resemble a planet that we would recognise, i.e. a sphere. It is named after the goddess of harvest.

What is the chance of an Asteroid Strike?

Low, very low, the last asteroid strike that did real damage was the asteroid that killed the Dinosaurs millions of years ago. Our planet is hit constantly by asteroids, they normally burn up on impact. Those that do make it to land are so tiny that damage is minimal. A few people have been killed by an asteroid but I wouldn`t loose sleep over it.

List of the biggest/major Asteroids?

The table below details a number of asteroids whose information is made available from the N.A.S.A. website. Clicking on a link will allow you to see more information and possibly a photo of the asteroid in question. If you want more information on asteroids then visit the NASA site. Some pages when selected will contain a picture of the asteroid, some will contain the path the asteroid takes. If I have not generated a path picture for the asteroid you want, visit the NASA Asteroid Simulater and replace `CERES` with the asteroid you want e.g. Chiron. For some asteroids you will need to enter Number with the Name appended. For the FF asteroid, enter the name 1995FF to get the details.



NameOrbital PeriodOrbital EccentricityOrganisation
UB2.290.649
UP2.550.473
VP111.130.584
AV431.440.238
1998 DV92.310.434
James Bond3.890.15196
Moore3.680.1080777
TU1.650.322
VG1.040.049
KA23.330.77
ES11.680.588
WR120.660.398
XM12.980.568
FF3.540.707
UB1.660.413
JA14.110.701
DB71.320.195
BJ82.620.55
FA1.120.133
GU330.507
Golevka3.990.597
LG60.880.112
Mithra3.260.663
QV71.660.522
QW72.730.469
RD532.340.428
DP1071.590.377
YA3.660.652
BA160.910.137
YF291.820.371
EC4.140.773
SF361.530.28
GQ21.340.505
KW40.510.688
WM152.540.593
WT240.610.418
YB53.660.865
CB262.730.723
EM70.890.363
MN2.440.497
NY402.910.71
FH121.140.54
PM1.80.753
FG21.480.356
GT2.10.383
SF361.530.28
MN0.550.664
UY44.330.62
Pan30.587
UG112.670.57
AQ100.910.234
CC2.090.417
FE902.680.495
MN0.550.664
EY22.270.487
FW43.950.729
CU111.350.296
WT240.610.418
VP111.130.584
CB191.460.452
NT72.290.529
GP21.060.074
1994 PC11.560.328
1989 JA2.350.484
HH491.930.502
GE22.020.557
SF101.450.253
NC10.810.208
AN101.760.562
XF111.730.484
SG3440.970.067
WR120.650.405
BB101.430.425
KW40.510.688
LG60.880.112
SB451.950.397
QK14.670.642
SH361.130.571
WT240.610.418
VD351.960.477
FA1.120.133
AN1292.450.525
Castalia1.10.4831
Apollo1.810.56
DB71.320.195
GV2.850.519
Asclepius1.030.357
TU281.110.183
Geographos1.390.3356
TA1.910.479
SF101.450.253
WT240.610.418
RS111.450.321
SH361.130.571
NT72.290.529
Nereus1.820.36
RQ361.20.205
LG60.880.112
Hathor0.780.45
Toutatis3.980.634
SF101.450.253
KW40.510.688
DO11.70.681
CS2.640.77
JU31.30.19
SB451.950.397
OR23.70.566
TC254.040.614
BA3.060.667
UG112.670.57
GP21.060.074
SO51.130.065
GP21.060.074
VP111.130.584
Icarus1.120.8268
MN0.550.664
UQ0.880.265
WO1070.870.781
Phaethon1.430.89
SC151.440.415
LG60.880.112
XF111.730.484
WT240.610.418
Eros1.760.2229
Vesta3.630.895
Siwa4.510.2157
Shipka5.250.1237
Rodari3.250.0572
Pallas4.610.2299
Otawara3.190.1449
Mimistrobell3.380.0831
McAuliffe2.570.3686
Mathilde4.310.266
Kleopatra4.670.2535
Juno4.360.2579
Itokawa1.520.2789
Ida4.840.0451
Gaspra3.290.1738
Eugenia4.490.0831
Chiron50.70.3801
Ceres4.60.0789
Braille3.680.4336
Anne Frank3.290.643
Astraea0.1911
Victoria0.221

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Donald
Donald, good point, I will check and correct my information.
venus
who was the discover
Donald
You have a great web site! Should not you list the last column of the asteroid data as (Earth) years, and not days? Even a high-speed bullet couldn't travel around the 'Sun' within the times stated.
khushbu
what is the real meaning of asteroids and which mineral does it contain