Blogs about asteroids

Artist's concept of a planetesimal orbiting the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9 (Image courtesy University of Warwick/Mark Garlick)

An article published in the journal “Science” reports the discovery of what’s probably a fragment of a planet that orbits a white dwarf. A team of researchers led by the British University of Warwick used the Gran Telescopio Canarias of La Palma to study the debris disk that surrounds the white dwarf cataloged as SDSS J122859.93+104032.9 detecting anomalies in the emission lines that have been interpreted as the result of the presence of what has been called a planetesimal orbiting the star in about two hours.

The Hayabusa 2 space probe generated a crater on asteroid Ryugu

A few hours ago the Japanese space probe Hayabusa 2 generated a crater on asteroid Ryugu, an operation that aims to remove materials from its surface to be able to take samples of subsoil materials that weren’t altered by exposure to space weather. The system called Small Carry-on Impactor (SCI) launched a 2.5 kg copper bullet that was fired into the surface by an explosive system. In a couple of weeks, Hayabusa 2 is scheduled to return to the site to take debris samples.

Artist's concept of Jupiter and its trojans (Image NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An article published in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” reports the results of a research on the migration of the solar system’s gas planets and in particular on Jupiter’s movements. A team of researchers led by Simona Pirani, a graduate student in astronomy at the Swedish University of Lund, created a series of computer simulations to try to explain the asymmetry in Jupiter trojans, given that there are about are approximately 50 per cent more Trojans in front of Jupiter than behind it. The result is that such asymmetry may have occurred if Jupiter was formed at a distance from the Sun four times greater than its current one and then approached and attracted the asteroids asymmetrically.

Asteroid Ryugu (Image courtesy Seiji Sugita et al., Science)

Three articles published in the journal “Science” describe as many researches on asteroid Ryugu. Three teams of researchers used the data collected by the Japanese space agency JAXA’s Hayabusa2 space probe to obtain the first precise descriptions of the characteristics of Ryugu and in particular its geology. The portrait that comes out is that of a porous asteroid containing hydrated minerals and at the same time very little water. It probably formed by a part of the debris of a larger asteroid that got destroyed.

Asteroid Bennu revealed various surprises

Seven articles published in the magazines “Nature”, “Nature Astronomy”, “Nature Geoscience” and “Nature Communications” report a series of research results about asteroid Bennu. Hundreds of scientists used data gathered by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx space probe to study in particular various aspects of Bennu’s geology. The results will be useful in various other studies, from those about the origin of life’s building blocks that sowed the Earth to those about the solar system’s formation, including some practical ones such as the search for an area on which OSIRIS-REx can descend to take samples to assessments of the danger posed by asteroids such as Bennu.