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
New Insight into Molecular Processes
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Exoplanet stepping stones
21.11.2018 | W. M. Keck Observatory
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences