Asteroids On The Solar System

2003 WordsApr 25, 20159 Pages
Kyle Williams Planetary Geology 4/14/2015 Asteroids in Our Solar System Introduction: When the first asteroids were discovered they were thought to be planets, just like every other star in the sky. It is only with the advancement of astronomy that the differentiation could occur. Asteroids are minor planets or sometimes referred to as planetoids or planetesimals. Those names are given to anything in the solar system that does not seem to have the roundedness of a planetary body or the typical characteristics of a comet. Asteroids can form in a number of ways; they can be pieces of a larger extinct planet or a planet that was in the stages of forming when some event occurred to change its path. A majority of the asteroids we know are…show more content…
The difference between an asteroid and a comet is commonly misunderstood; anything smaller than ten meters across is called a meteoroid, with the broader term minor planet is preferred by the International Astronomical Union. Other languages prefer "planetoid" and this term is used in English for differentiating between larger minor planets such as the dwarf planets. The word planetesimal has a similar meaning, but refers to the small building blocks of the planets that existed when the Solar System was forming. The three largest objects in the asteroid belt, Ceres, 2 Pallas, and 4 Vesta, grew to the stage of protoplanets. Ceres is a dwarf planet, the only one in the inner Solar System. The main difference between an asteroid and a comet is that a comet shows a coma due to sublimation of near surface ices by solar radiation. A few objects have ended up being dual-listed because they were first classified as minor planets but later showed evidence of comet like activity. Conversely, some comets are eventually depleted of their surface volatile ices and become asteroids. A further distinction is that comets typically have more eccentric orbits than most asteroids; most "asteroids" with notably eccentric orbits are probably dormant or extinct comets (Weissman et al, 2002). Much interest in asteroids stems from the collisional potential of some of their orbits. These “near Earth asteroids” or “earth-crosser” are categorized into three types; Apollos,
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