Published: 12th June 2021
What the FAQ: What are asteroids? Which was the latest asteroid that passed by the Earth?
As Google celebrates the 99th birthday of Margherita Hacks, an Italian astrophysicist and scientific disseminator, we try to dig out more information on what asteroids are and how they are formed
We know that you have read about asteroids or meteors in your science textbooks. All these were formed from the leftovers of the solar system around 4.6 billion years ago. A lot of scientists, astrophysicists started discovering them one by one and studied the materials these objects are made of. As Google celebrates the 99th birthday of Margherita Hacks, an Italian astrophysicist and scientific disseminator, we try to dig out more information on what asteroids are and how they are formed. The asteroid 8558 Hack, discovered in 1995, was named in Margherita Hack's honour. In fact, she was the first italian woman to administrate the Triste Astronomical Observatory from 1964 to 1987 and gave it international fame.
What are asteroids?
Asteroids are those small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun. They are smaller than the planets and most of the asteroids live in the main asteroid belt. The asteroid belt is nothing but a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Are there different categories of asteroids in the galaxy?
The C-type asteroids are common and are made of clay, silicate rocks, dark in appearance. Scientists say that C-types are the most ancient objects in the solar system. The S-type asteroids are made of silicate and nickel-iron and the M-type asteroids are metallic made of nickel-iron.
What was the biggest asteroid found so far?
According to NASA's Dawn Spacecraft, Ceres is the biggest asteroid found in the planetary system. The usual asteroids look dry and barren but Ceres was full of water.
Which asteroid hit our earth recently?
The scientists spotted a new asteroid about the size of a house that zipped safely by Earth on April 15,2020 passing just inside the orbit of the moon. It was named the Asteroid 2020 GH2 that passed Earth at a range of about 2,23,000 miles which is 3,59,000 kilometers.
Who are some of the famous people to have named asteroids after them?
Nicolaus Copernicus, Issac Newton, Stephen Hawking, novelists Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and musicians Steve Wonder and Freddie Mercury are some of the famous people who have asteroids named after them.