There are a lot of exciting things going on in the stars above that make astronomy so much fun. The truth is that the universe is constantly changing, moving, and some may say something “alive” because you never know what you will see on a given starry night.
But among the many celestial phenomena, perhaps none are as exciting as the moment you see your first asteroid moving across the sky. Calling asteroids “rock stars” in astronomy is both a bad joke but an accurate representation of how astronomy aficionados view them. Unlike the sun, planets and moons, asteroids are constantly moving and changing, and if they appear in the night sky, they are exciting and dynamic.
Like rock stars, asteroids have had their fair share of urban myths and traditions. Many have attributed the extinction of the dinosaurs to the impact of a huge asteroid on Earth. This theory has some credibility and, if it is correct, raises some startling images and alarming fears in the current species of earthly dominion, the human race.
The fact that asteroids move rapidly in space debris makes their movement and activity even more thrilling and exciting. Unlike the moon, planet or star, the odds of an asteroid colliding with Earth are quite reasonable, and in fact, there are many documented cases of small asteroids passing through the atmosphere and leaving some pretty interesting craters. on the earth’s surface.
Popular culture has happily embraced the idea of an asteroid collision. The idea gave birth to many science fiction stories by adding the idea that alien life forms can ride asteroids in our world and initiate a state of “war of the worlds”. But by far the concepts we have talked about that have captured the imagination and fears of science fiction fans and the general public is the collision of another asteroid with Earth that could destroy life as the dinosaurs claim. Indeed, Armageddon was based on this idea and the idea that humanity can somehow avoid that disaster with technology.
But perhaps the best way to allay our fears and replace science fiction with science is with understanding and knowledge. The fact is that there have been many studies on the activity of asteroids, and the serious scientific community has acquired a great knowledge of these amazing celestial bodies. Numerous investigations have been conducted on asteroids which have provided us with a wealth of information about their formation and how we can predict their behavior.
We now know that most of the asteroids we see come from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is from this asteroid community that many important asteroids have emerged. Scientists have gained a great deal of knowledge of asteroid formation and separated them into classes including Class S, which comes from the part of the belt closest to Mars, and Class C, D and V, which are classified by composition. and a class called “Centaurs” which brings them closer to their flight patterns from Jupiter and Uranus.
Some of the probes conducted by NASA on nearby flying asteroids have conducted some very surprising studies on these strange celestial bodies. In 1994, the Galileo spacecraft reached 1,000 miles from the asteroid Ida and discovered that Ida did indeed have her own moon.
Other probes have triggered asteroid collisions and even landed on an asteroid to produce some surprising scientific data for us. There is a lot to learn about asteroids in our love of astronomy, and this knowledge makes just the pleasure of seeing it in the universe even more exciting.