1. What are Asteroids Made of?
Most asteroids are chondrites, made of clay and silicate. Some are “stony” and include nickel and iron. A select few asteroids hold precious and pricey metals.1
2. Where are Asteroids Located?
Asteroids orbit our Sun at several key places in the solar system, including the main asteroid belt beyond Mars, the Trojan asteroids ahead and behind Jupiter and a group called Near-Earth Asteroids that comes close to Earth.
3. What is the Main Asteroid Belt?
The main asteroid belt sits between Mars and Jupiter and holds millions of asteroids.These space rocks are remnants of the material orbiting our Sun as the solar system formed.
4. Are Asteroids Dangerous?
They sure can be! An asteroid killed the dinosaurs. And ancient historical accounts suggest small asteroids may have even killed people.2 Thankfully,civilization-threatening asteroids only hit every couple million years.3
5. What is Planetary Defense?
Planetary defense initiatives would use things like nuclear weapons4 and lasers5 to stop asteroids from hitting Earth. But the real key is detection. Unistellar citizen astronomers help by monitoring nearby asteroids6.
6. Will Asteroids hit Earth Again?
In 2013, an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia and injured some 1,500 people7. Asteroids will hit Earth again.
7. Can we Mine Asteroids?
Metal-rich asteroids could be worth trillions thanks to elements rare on Earth that are needed in a host of modern technologies. Several companies are racing to find ways of asteroid mining.8
8. What is a Near-Earth Asteroid?
Roughly 25,000 known asteroids pass close enough to our planet to be considered Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs). Every year, dozens come so close they slip between us and the Moon.9
9. What are Trojan Asteroids?
Jupiter, our solar system’s largest planet, holds two large groups of asteroids in its gravitational grip. These space rocks are called Trojan asteroids.10
10. How can I Observe Asteroids?
Large asteroids are sometimes visible in backyard telescopes. To hunt more elusive Near-Earth Asteroids, the eVscope lets you catch asteroid occultations, where space rocks pass in front of distant stars.
The annual Asteroid Day celebration is coming up on June 30. You can visit https://unistellaroptics.com/asteroid-day to learn more about asteroids!