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Naughty little kites

He liked to make the planets stare, and he did not wish for better joy

Than just seeing the telescopes pointed at her from Earth – “A mischievous little comet”, Ella Wheeler Wilcox

There are certain small objects that playfully frolic in our Sun’s family that stubbornly refuse to be easily classified. Main Belt Kites (MBC) are such objects! They are a recently recognized new group, circling our Solar System within the Handheld Asteroid Belt, which is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. MBC They are strange and puzzling little worlds that exhibit both the physical characteristics of comets and the orbital characteristics of asteroids. Because they have characteristics of two different groups of inhabitants of the Solar System, their origins have been somewhat difficult to determine. Some astronomers now suggest that the members of this strange family are the shattered fragments of Main belt asteroids that were destroyed in catastrophic crushing with other asteroids.

Comets are small, icy bodies that make a long and treacherous journey through the Solar System in long elliptical orbits. They are famous for their bright, fluttering tails that flow whenever they travel close enough to the Sun. This is because heat and solar winds join forces to melt the surface of their frozen cores.

Comets and asteroids are the remnants of a myriad of moving bodies that existed when our Solar System was very young. Our Solar System was born about 4.6 billion years ago with the collapse of a relatively small dense pocket embedded within a gigantic dark and cold molecular cloud. Most of the collapsed bag froze in the center and eventually caught fire due to nuclear fusion, giving birth to our star, the Sun. The remaining mass flattened into what is called a protoplanetary accretion disk from which the eight main planets, their numerous moons, comets, asteroids and other small objects of the Solar System were formed.

Protoplanetary accretion discs Circles have been observed in numerous stars that inhabit young star clusters. They develop at the same time a baby star is born, but the earliest stages cannot be seen because they are veiled by an opaque envelope of dust and gas. Tea accretion disk feed starving baby star material, gold protostar and it is both very hot and extremely massive. Thesis discs it can haunt its young stars for about 10 million years.

By the time the young star reaches what is called the T Tauri In the stage, the nutritive disc has become thinner and much colder. FOR T Tauri star is a very young baby bouncing off an energetic variable star that is less than 10 million years old. These stars have a similar mass, or perhaps a little less, to that of our Sun, which is a relatively small star. T Tauri stars have diameters that are several times that of our Sun, but they are still in the process of shrinking. Baby stars like the Sun shrink as they age. By the time the young star has reached this stage, the less volatile materials have begun to condense near the center of the accretion disk, forming very, very sticky dust grains that are so fine they resemble smoke, rather than house dust that needs to be removed. These very fine, sticky, smoke-like dust grains contain crystalline silicates.

Very fine particles of smoke-like dust coalesce to form larger and larger objects within the dense disk environment in which they inhabit. Small dust grains form objects up to several centimeters in size, and these are further added to create planetesimals. Planetesimals They are the basic components of planets and can reach sizes of 1 kilometer in diameter or more. Planetesimals are extremely abundant and spread throughout the protoplanetary accretion disk– and some survive long enough to remain as relics billions of years after the formation of the mature planetary system. Asteroids, like those that inhabit the Solar System itself, are rocky remains planetesimals. Kites, on the other hand, are frozen relics planetesimals from the outer limits of our Solar System. Tea asteroids they are the remaining building blocks of the rocky inner planets: Mercury, Venus, our Earth and Mars. Tea kites they are the leftover building blocks of the outer gas and ice giant planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Tea asteroids are mainly found in the Handheld Asteroid Belt, although there are several different populations of these rocky objects that reside outside of this Belt, as well as. Kites they are fragile and ephemeral bodies, sometimes referred to disparagingly as “dirty snowballs” or “icy mudballs,” depending on the observer’s point of view. They are strange and beautiful travelers from afar.

The ice cream, dirty kites it streaks into the warm inner Earth region of the Solar System from two dark and frozen domains at the outer limits. The first is called kuiper belt. Tea kuiper belt revolves around our star beyond the orbit of Neptune, the farthest of the eight main planets from the Sun. The second domain of comets is the Oort Cloud, which is a huge sphere of icy objects that is believed to surround our entire Solar System.

Every time a wandering Kite makes its dangerous journey into the solar system, loses some of its mass through sublimation of its surface ice and gas: the icy surface of the nucleus turns into gas and creates a cloud called eat. Solar radiation expels dust particles from the eat, and this forms the famous dusty and sparkling tails of kites.

Rocky, metallic asteroids at Main belt do not normally exhibit this type of Kite-similar behavior. Asteroids at Main belt they are not supposed to unfold eat or flashing and waving tails. However, the recently recognized class of Main Belt Kites exhibit precisely this kind of behavior, while orbiting the Sun in a way that is characteristic of asteroids–no kites!

Naughty little kites

MBC they are extremely disconcerting. They look like kites with their tails and eat, but they rotate in orbits within that of the planet Jupiter, like asteroids!

The first of this puzzling group to be discovered was the asteroid 1979 OW7, that was rediscovered and renamed 1996 N2, and then designated a comet by Dr. Erik Elst and Dr. Guido Pizarro in 1996. It now has a cometary designation as 133P / Elst-Pizarro. For many years, determining the nature of this small enigmatic object was a problem. It was originally conceived as the tragic result of a collision between two asteroids. Nevertheless, 133P sublimated and developed a tail like a Kite in three successive perihelion passages, and this muddied the subject. Tea perihelion of an object refers to that point in its orbit when it is closest to the Sun – its aphelion It is when it is farthest away. This behavior, at the time, indicated to puzzled astronomers that the asteroid impact model was unlikely.

Some of the currently known MBC, in addition to 133P, is it so 176P / LINEAR, 238P /Read, P2008 R1 (Garradd), P / 2010 R2 (La Sagra), P / 2010 A2 (LINEAR), 596 Scheila, 300163, and P / 2012 F5 (Gibbs). Some astronomers are now suggesting that these objects are, in fact, the remains of larger bodies shattered in recent collisions, and that they inherited the ice from their parent asteroids, causing them to exhibit Kite-behavior similar to behavior 1. MBC are members of a distinct family of asteroids: groups of asteroids that have similar orbital characteristics, such as orbital inclination and eccentricity. Members of a particular asteroid family are believed to be fragments of a larger asteroid that was pulverized in a collision.

Serbian astronomer Dr. Bojan Novakovic, from the Department of Astronomy at the University of Belgrade, is currently investigating the mysterious origins of MBC, together with colleagues Dr. Henry Hsieh and Dr. Alberto Cellino. The team of astronomers focused on one prime example: the P / 2006 VW 139 MBC, and his goal was to see if it could be assigned to an asteroid family. P / 2006 VW 139 was originally classified as an asteroid, but was eventually reclassified as an MBC in 2011, when astronomers in Hawaii discovered that it had a tail.

Dr. Novakovic began his study at the AstDys database, which is a catalog of 398,841 asteroids. There are less than a dozen verified examples of MBC, so finding other members of this asteroid family among hundreds of thousands of potential candidates was not exactly an easy job. The team of astronomers used what is called the hierarchical grouping method and cutting distance parameter to fight your way through the candidates. They successfully narrowed the chances to just 24 asteroids. The next step was to determine the orbital characteristics that these 24 asteroids possess. For this task, Dr. Novakovic used a mathematical model called backward integration, “which can be used to distinguish actual family members from intruders,” commented on November 7, 2012 International science grid this week (isgtw).

To investigate the orbital characteristics of candidate family members, Dr. Novakovic needed to examine a large number of calculations that were “computationally expensive and would take months to perform on a typical PC,” he added. Finally, Dr. Novakovic and his colleagues were able to reduce the P / 2006 VW139 family up to only 11 members.

The most valuable conclusion of Dr. Novakovic’s study, which was published in the Monthly notices from the Royal Astronomical Society, is that P / 2006 VW139 and his 11 siblings are part of a young asteroid family that was probably born about 7.5 million years ago. “[Asteroid] families are considered young if they are less than about 10 million years old, “Dr. Novakovic went on to explain. This indicates that about 7.5 million years ago, a large asteroid smashed into another asteroid and broke into 11 more pieces. little ones:P / 2006 VW139 and his 10 sisters.

P / 2006 VW139 became a MBC because it inherited the deeply buried ice that belongs to its catastrophically pulverized parent asteroid. This ice eventually vaporized, producing a waving tail that is characteristic of comets. “The fact that ice still exists near the surface of P / 2006 VW 139 means that its surface is relatively young, “noted Dr. Novakovic on November 7, 2012 isgtw. This means that P / 2006 VW 139 and her 10 sisters were born long after the Main Asteroid Belt.

This finding is important because it supports the theory that MBC are born in asteroid smashes within the Handheld Asteroid Beltand not by other means.

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