Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jovian Asteroids – heard of them?

Jovian Asteroids – heard of them? They are asteroids that circle the Sun from Jupiter’s orbit. Apparently they travel in packs, first there is the team that precedes Jupiter in its orbit. Then there’s the cleanup crew that follows Jupiter. How do we know this? NASA and its WISE (or Wide Field Infrared Explorer but do you see an S in there? Neither do I!)

Anyway WISE has allowed a more detailed view of the actual colors of these asteroids both teams. It has determined that they are made up mostly of dark reddish rocks with a matte (not glossy) non reflective surface. NASA also noticed that those of the asteroids preceding Jupiter were larger than those who followed behind, something they had long suspected.

The one thing that it hasn’t helped them determine is something they have been curious about, where the asteroids came from. Apparently these are unlike any others that we know of at present. And when it comes to asteroids we like knowing where they come from. Take the meteor showers; whenever we have them listen for that particular group’s name. This month we have the Orionids which are a the leftover debris field from Hailey’s Comet and radiate from the constellation Orion. Next month we have the Draconids which hail from the constellation Draco (the Dragon) located in the Northern Sky by the Big and the Little dipper. In November we have the Leonids from the constellation Leo and then later in the month the Taurids from…well you get the idea.

Scientists believe that there are just as many total asteroids between the two packs of Jovian Asteroids as there are in all of the Kuiper belt and the Joviam Asteroids have been placed on the list of places of interest to visit.

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