Developing A Way To Study Asteroids

613 WordsFeb 19, 20182 Pages
It has always been a worry of researchers that at any moment an asteroid may hit Earth and cause significant damage. Only recently (the past hundred years or so) have people been able to make equipment powerful enough to detect asteroids coming toward Earth and orbiting Earth. This is a very important step in preventing damage to our fragile planet. One of the first asteroids orbiting Earth discovered was 1 Ceres by Piazzi in 1801 (Gehrels, 1999). Since all of the asteroids back in the 1800’s were found just by looking up at the sky, it was a very slow going process finding them. In 1891, Max Wolf decided that taking pictures of the asteroids would be a more efficient way of keeping track of them. He was correct. Just looking up at the night’s sky was not good enough to see the asteroids (even with the lack of light pollution at the time). Taking a photo would not only help to see the asteroids better, but it would also help to find and identify any other objects that may have been in space at the time. In the 1900’s asteroids were referred to as “minor planets”. Around this time there were places in Berlin that would use available technology to compute the orbits of these asteroids. In 1957, scientists measured the very first cosmic ray exposure age of an asteroid (Gehrels, 1999). This is the time from which the asteroid breaks off from its place of origin to the time it reaches Earth. On June 30, 1908 above Siberia, an asteroid exploded in the sky. It was
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