Recently in the Asteroids Category


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets.

A meteorite that fell onto the roof of a house in Novato, California, on Oct. 17, 2012, has revealed a detailed picture of its origin and tumultuous journey through space and Earth's atmosphere.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have made a novel discovery that may potentially protect the world from future collisions with asteroids.

EPFL researchers have a better understanding of the asteroid Vesta and its internal structure, thanks to numerical simulations and data from the space mission Dawn. Their findings, published today in Nature, question contemporary models of rocky planet formation, including that of Earth.

NASA is on the hunt for an asteroid to capture with a robotic spacecraft, redirect to a stable orbit around the moon, and send astronauts to study in the 2020s -- all on the agency's human Path to Mars.

In the last decades Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) have become very important targets to study, since they can give us clues to the formation, evolution and composition of the Solar System.

Spitzer Spies an Odd, Tiny Asteroid

Astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have measured the size of an asteroid candidate for NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), a proposed spacecraft concept to capture either a small asteroid, or a boulder from an asteroid.

NASA scientists using Earth-based radar have produced sharp views of a recently discovered asteroid as it slid silently past our planet. Captured on June 8, 2014, the new views of the object designated "2014 HQ124" are some of the most detailed radar images of a near-Earth asteroid ever obtained.

ESA's Herschel space observatory has observed 132 of the known 1400 cold worlds that inhabit a region of the Solar System beyond the orbit of Neptune, some 4.5-7.5 billion km from the Sun.

A newfound asteroid will safely pass Earth on June 8 from a distance of about 777,000 miles (1.25 million kilometers), more than three times farther away than our moon.

Reports about NASA's routine detection and tracking of near-Earth objects (NEOs) may not be as exciting as Hollywood scenarios of asteroid impact disasters, but NEO detection and tracking is a 24/7 job the agency and its partners takes seriously.

B612 Foundation Earth Day Impact Video

The B612 Foundation held a press conference yesterday that featured the following new video of data from a nuclear-test-ban-treaty organization showing multiple atomic-bomb-scale asteroid impacts on Earth since 2001.

NASA's team that will conduct the first U.S. mission to collect samples from an asteroid has been given the go-ahead to begin building the spacecraft, flight instruments and ground system, and launch support facilities.

A Kuiper Belt Object With Rings

Until now, rings of material in a disc have only been observed around giant planets like Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and especially Saturn, which is known for its spectacular rings.

A collage of radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2006 DP14 was generated by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., on the night of Feb. 11, 2014.

Asteroids Pound A Tiny Star

Scientists using CSIRO's Parkes telescope and another telescope in South Africa have found evidence that a tiny star called PSR J0738-4042 is being pounded by asteroids -- large lumps of rock from space.

NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission

One year ago the world was witness to the dangers presented by near-Earth Objects (NEOs) when a relatively small asteroid entered Earth's atmosphere, exploding over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and releasing more energy than a large atomic bomb.

The Anatomy of an Asteroid

ESO's New Technology Telescope (NTT) has been used to find the first evidence that asteroids can have a highly varied internal structure.

Playing Tag With Asteroid OSIRIS-REx

What's the best way get a sample of an asteroid? Play tag with it! That's the plan for OSIRIS-REx, a NASA spacecraft that will approach the asteroid Bennu in 2018. The collection will be done with an instrument on board called the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or, TAGSAM. Learn how it works in this video.

Our solar system seems like a neat and orderly place, with small, rocky worlds near the Sun and big, gaseous worlds farther out, all eight planets following orbital paths unchanged since they formed.

Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest and roundest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres.

NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip aboard a spacecraft headed to the asteroid Bennu in 2016.

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft has spotted a never-before-seen asteroid -- its first such discovery since coming out of hibernation last year.

First 2014 Asteroid Discovered

Asteroid 2014 AA was discovered by the NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey on Jan. 1, 2014.

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE), a spacecraft that made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets, has returned its first set of test images in preparation for a renewed mission.

Examining The Minerology of Asteroid Vesta

Some beauty is revealed only at a second glance.

Dawn Spacecraft Heads for Ceres

It's going to be a ball when NASA's Dawn spacecraft finally arrives at the dwarf planet Ceres, and mission managers have now inked in the schedule on Dawn's dance card.

For nearly as long as astronomers have been able to observe asteroids, a question has gone unanswered: Why do the surfaces of most asteroids appear redder than meteorites -- the remnants of asteroids that have crashed to Earth?

Dawn Spurs Rewrite of Vesta's Story

Just when scientists thought they had a tidy theory for how the giant asteroid Vesta formed, a new paper from NASA's Dawn mission suggests the history is more complicated.

Astronomers viewing our solar system's asteroid belt with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have seen for the first time an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel.

A team of astronomers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and the University of Hyogo used the Subaru Prime Focus Camera (Suprime-Cam) mounted on the Subaru Telescope to observe faint asteroids with highly inclined orbits.

At a public event today at New York's American Museum of Natural History, the Association of Space Explorers (ASE), a professional society of astronauts and cosmonauts, issued a challenge to the global community to take the next vital steps to confront the threat from dangerous asteroids.

The orbit of the planet Mars is host to the remains of an ancient collision that created many of its Trojan asteroids, a new study has concluded. It paints a new picture of how these objects came to be and may even hold important lessons for deflecting asteroids on a collision course with our own planet.

A new look at the early solar system introduces an alternative to a long-taught, but largely discredited, theory that seeks to explain how biomolecules were once able to form inside of asteroids.

Tantalized by images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based data, scientists thought the giant asteroid Vesta deserved a closer look. They got a chance to do that in 2011 and 2012, when NASA's Dawn spacecraft orbited the giant asteroid, and they were able to check earlier conclusions.

After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA's Deep Impact mission has ended.

The Great Atlas of the Giant Asteroid Vesta

An atlas of the giant asteroid Vesta, created from images taken as NASA's Dawn mission flew around the object (also known as a protoplanet), is now accessible for the public to explore online.

For 30 years, a large near-Earth asteroid wandered its lone, intrepid path, passing before the scrutinizing eyes of scientists while keeping something to itself: (3552) Don Quixote, whose journey stretches to the orbit of Jupiter, now appears to be a comet.

The Sun-grazing asteroid, Phaethon, has betrayed its true nature by showing a comet-like tail of dust particles blown backwards by radiation pressure from the Sun. Unlike a comet, however, Phaethon's tail doesn't arise through the vaporization of an icy nucleus.

An Asteroid and the Orion Nebula

This image shows the potentially hazardous near-Earth object 1998 KN3 (top-upper-left yellow-green dot) as it zips past a cloud of dense gas and dust near the Orion nebula.

Atmospheric physicist Nick Gorkavyi missed witnessing an event of the century last winter when a meteor exploded over his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. From Greenbelt, Md., however, NASA's Gorkavyi and colleagues witnessed a never-before-seen view of the atmospheric aftermath of the explosion.

After appearing to stall late last week, the Planetary Resources Kickstarter campaign to raise $1 million for the E/PO ARKYD telescope has achieved its initial goal and was pushed over the top overnight.

NASA announced Tuesday a Grand Challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them. The challenge is a large-scale effort that will use multi-disciplinary collaborations and a variety of partnerships with other government agencies, international partners, industry, academia, and citizen scientists. It complements NASA's recently announced mission to redirect an asteroid and send humans to study it.

An Asteroid with a Long Tail

Using the new wide-field camera at the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope, astronomers have found that the peculiar asteroid P/2010 A2's tail is much longer than previously supposed. The tail is about a million km long, roughly three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon.


New radar data obtained by NASA shows Asteroid 1998 QE2 has a moon. The asteroid will get no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon.

Data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have led to a new and improved family tree for asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Less than a day after announcing its plan to crowd source a space telescope, the Planetary Resources Kickstarter campaign has nearly reached 34% of its goal of $1,000,000.

A Shared Bombardment History

From NASA ,scientists have now discovered that studying meteorites from the giant asteroid Vesta helps them understand the event known as the lunar cataclysm, when a repositioning of the gas giant planets destabilized a portion of the asteroid belt and triggered a solar-system-wide bombardment.

NASA's first mission to sample an asteroid is moving ahead into development and testing in preparation for its launch in 2016.

On May 31, 2013, asteroid 1998 QE2 will sail serenely past Earth, getting no closer than about 3.6 million miles (5.8 million kilometers), or about 15 times the distance between Earth and the moon. And while QE2 is not of much interest to those astronomers and scientists on the lookout for hazardous asteroids, it is of interest to those who dabble in radar astronomy and have a 230-foot (70-meter) -- or larger -- radar telescope at their disposal.

How to Target an Asteroid

Like many of his colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., Shyam Bhaskaran is working a lot with asteroids these days. And also like many of his colleagues, the deep space navigator devotes a great deal of time to crafting, and contemplating, computer-generated 3D models of these intriguing nomads of the solar system.

NASA is about to get a chance to try something totally new: instead of just visting or landing on things in space, it is going to go grab one of those things - something that is rather huge - and bring it back to Earth. Details will be formally announced on 10 April 2013 when the new budget is rolled out.

Images of Asteroid 2013 ET

A sequence of radar images of asteroid 2013 ET was obtained on March 10, 2013, by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., when the asteroid was about 693,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Earth, which is 2.9 lunar distances.

The striking coincidences of the asteroid 2012 DA14 flying close to the Earth, and a large meteor crash in Russia's Chelyabinsk region on 15 February, showed again the need for coordinated international efforts to predict, and if necessary, mitigate such threats posed by near-Earth objects in the future.

"This article describes a citizen-science project conducted by the Spanish Virtual Observatory (SVO) to improve the orbits of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) using data from astronomical archives. The list of NEAs maintained at the Minor Planet Center (MPC) is checked daily to identify new objects or changes in the orbital parameters of already catalogued objects. Using NEODyS we compute the position and magnitude of these objects at the observing epochs of the 938 046 images comprising the Eigth Data Release of the Sloan Digitised Sky Survey (SDSS). If the object lies within the image boundaries and the magnitude is brighter than the limiting magnitude, then the associated image is visually inspected by the project's collaborators (the citizens) to confirm or discard the presence of the NEA. If confirmed, accurate coordinates and, sometimes, magnitudes are submitted to the MPC." More

An initial sequence of radar images of asteroid 2012 DA14 was obtained on the night of Feb. 15/16, 2013, by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif. Each of the 72 frames required 320 seconds of data collection by the Goldstone radar.

The first firm details of the 15 February asteroid impact in Russia, the largest in more than a century, are becoming clear. ESA is carefully assessing the information as crucial input for developing the Agency's asteroid-hunting effort.

Russian Asteroid Strike As Seen From Space

A space rock a few metres across exploded in Earth's atmosphere above the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia on 15 February at about 03:15 GMT. The numerous injuries and significant damage remind us that what happens in space can affect us all.

NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Friday, Feb. 15, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named 2012 DA14. NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.

The demise of the dinosaurs is the world's ultimate whodunit. Was it a comet or asteroid impact? Volcanic eruptions? Climate change?

Close Earth Flyby By Asteroid 2012 DA14

A little-known asteroid will skim past Earth on 15 February, passing just 28 000 km from our planet. The 50 m-diameter chunk of space rock was discovered in last year by ESA-sponsored amateur astronomers in Spain.

In an effort to better understand Near-Earth Objects, NASA is sending the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to asteroid 1999 RQ36, a remnant of the early solar system.

Rebutting a speculative hypothesis that comet explosions changed Earth's climate sufficiently to end the Clovis culture in North America about 13,000 years ago, Sandia lead author Mark Boslough and researchers from 14 academic institutions assert that other explanations must be found for the apparent disappearance.

Herschel Intercepts Asteroid Apophis

ESA's Herschel space observatory made new observations of asteroid Apophis as it approached Earth this weekend. The data shows the asteroid to be bigger than first estimated, and less reflective.

An Asteroid Belt Around Vega?

Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the star Vega, the second brightest star in northern night skies. The scientists used data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency's (ESA) Herschel Space Observatory, in which NASA plays an important role.

NASA scientists have announced that new observations of 2011 AG5 show that this asteroid, once thought to have a worrisome potential to threaten Earth, no longer poses a significant risk of impact.

China's Chang'e-2 spacecraft did a flyby of asteroid Toutatis yesterday. Higher resolution images will be released shortly. Image source: CNSA

Radar Images of Asteroid Toutatis

Sequences of Goldstone delay-Doppler radar images of Toutatis from the 2012 observing campaign. In each image, range increases down and Doppler frequency increases toward the right, so rotation is counterclockwise.

Radar Images of Asteroid 2007 PA8

A collage shows nine radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2007 PA8 that were obtained between Oct. 31 and Nov. 13, 2012, with data collected by NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif.

Radar Images of Asteroid 2007 PA8

This composite image of asteroid 2007 PA8 was obtained using data taken by NASA's 230-foot-wide (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif.

Dawn Sees 'Young' Surface on Vesta

Like a Hollywood starlet constantly retouching her makeup, the giant asteroid Vesta is constantly stirring its outermost layer to present a young face. Data from NASA's Dawn mission show that a form of weathering that occurs on the moon and other airless bodies we've visited in the inner solar system does not alter Vesta's outermost layer in the same way.

Scientists using data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, have uncovered new clues in the ongoing mystery of the Jovian Trojans -- asteroids that orbit the Sun on the same path as Jupiter. Like racehorses, the asteroids travel in packs, with one group leading the way in front of the gas giant, and a second group trailing behind.

Pristine material that matches comets in our own Solar System have been found in a dust belt around the young star Beta Pictoris by ESA's Herschel space observatory.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has revealed the giant asteroid Vesta has its own version of ring around the collar. Two new papers, based on observations from the low-altitude mapping orbit of the Dawn mission, show volatile, or easily evaporated, materials have colored Vesta's surface in a broad swath around its equator.

The world's first privately funded deep space mission - SENTINEL - received major support this week from prominent members of the business and financial community who joined the B612 Foundation's Founding Circle.