Dr Rene Duffard, who is presenting results at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam on Wednesday 22nd August, said, “We appear to have detected basalt on the surface of these asteroids, which is very unusual for this part of the asteroid belt. We do not know whether we have discovered two basaltic asteroids with a very particular and previously unseen mineralogical composition or two objects of non basaltic nature that have to be included in a totally new taxonomic class.”
The presence of basalt means that the asteroid must have melted partially at some time in the past, which implies that it was once part of a larger body which had internal heating processes. However, there do not appear to be other basaltic fragments in the region and, from spectral analysis, it is not clear whether the two are fragments of the same parent body or not.
Until recently, most of the known basaltic asteroids, which are classified as V-type, were thought to be fragments of Vesta, the second largest object in the asteroid belt. Since 2001, several V-type asteroids have been identified as not belonging to this Vesta family, including (1459) Magnya, the first basaltic object to be detected in the outer asteroid belt.
Dr Duffard, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia in Spain, and his colleague, Dr Fernando Roig, from the Observatorio Nacional in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, selected the two asteroids, (7472) Kumakiri and (10537) 1991 RY16, for investigation by from a group of six candidate V-type asteroids identified using photometric data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).
The reflectance spectra of the two bodies seem to show the characteristics of a V-type asteroid. However, there is a shallow absorption band around the wavelength of red visible light, which has never been observed before in other V-type spectra. This means that these objects have a slightly different chemical composition and do not fit into any existing category of asteroid. The unexpected dip in the spectra could have two sources: it could be due to impacts with other asteroids or comets “shocking” iron-rich compounds into a oxidized state, or it could indicate the presence of olivine, a green mineral that is also known as the semi-precious gemstone.
Dr Duffard said, “We need now to observe both objects in the near-infrared range to confirm whether they have a basaltic surface. If they do, we will need to try and work out where they came from and the fate of their parent objects. If they do not, we will have to come up with a new class of asteroid.”
Anita Heward | alfa
Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time
17.10.2017 | University of Maryland
Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging
17.10.2017 | American Association for the Advancement of Science
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
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