Asteroids are rocky, airless worlds orbiting around our sun, but at the same time too small to be called planets. Tens of thousands are concentrated in the main asteroid belt, a vast doughnut-shaped ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids that pass close to Earth and deserve close monitoring are called near-Earth objects or NEOs.


Related topics

Asteroid belt, meteorite

What is an asteroid?

An asteroid is a body in space smaller than the planets found in our Solar System that have a rocky appearance orbiting around the sun in an inner orbit to that of Neptune.


The main characteristics that we can mention about asteroids are the following:


Its discovery dates back to the beginning of the 19th century, in 1801, when the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the asteroid or minor planet called Ceres; later, many more were discovered. Today it is estimated that there are approximately two million asteroids.

The English mathematician and astronomer John Herschel was responsible for giving them the name of asteroids.


Asteroids can be subdivided into three main categories:

Some can also be classified as D-type asteroids. They have a very low albedo and their color is quite red, they are strangely found in the main belt, as they are more frequent at distances greater than 3.3 ua from the Sun.

Where they come from?

The Sun and the planets were formed from a large cloud of gas, formed mainly of hydrogen and helium to which small parts of other elements were added. This matter concentrated in the center of this disk, originating the sun. The rest revolved around it forming a disk. Inside the disk the matter formed pieces of different sizes known as planetesimals.

The asteroids then come from matter that was not incorporated into the planets of the Solar System and grouped in the so-called asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

What asteroid will pass near the earth?

According to NASA experts, large asteroids do not approach the Earth regularly, they do so only once or twice a year. This year 2018, we have the CB asteroid, which measures between 15 and 40 meters and will pass close to our planet, approximately 64,000 kilometers.

In addition, an asteroid of about 700 meters and that has a curious form of skull, the TB-145, will fly in the direction of the Earth in November 2018.

Which are the biggest asteroids

Risk of asteroid impact

The constant study of asteroids that pass close to the earth has as its scientific objective, to control the possibility that some of them may collide with the planet. For this reason, their trajectories and distances are continuously studied.

Some asteroids have already collided with the planet and in fact, many scientists attribute the disappearance of dinosaurs from our earth to a collision with an asteroid. Their size is so large that a collision with our planet could cause devastating consequences for life.

Even though the possibility of a collision is very remote, it is still a reality to which we must pay attention, not forgetting to watch by studying their positions with respect to our planet.


Some curiosities of asteroids are:

Written by Gabriela Briceño V.

How to cite this article?

Briceño V., Gabriela. (2019). Asteroid. Recovered on 23 February, 2024, de Euston96:

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