Skip to main content

German astronomers spot long-lost chunk of battered proto-planet


German astronomers have discovered a long-sought missing chunk of matter from one of the solar system’s more mysterious objects, the proto-planet Vesta, they announced Friday.

They trained telescopes on an asteroid known as 1999 TA10 and managed to assess its unique chemical makeup. The asteroid, which is one to two kilometres in diameter, comes within a few million kilometres of earth during its orbit.

The chemical make-up, with extraordinarily low levels of iron and a high concentration of wollastonite and ferrosilite, makes it practically certain that it is the missing chunk of Vesta’s mantle long sought by astronomers.

The discovery was made by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research at Katlenburg-Lindau in Germany using images from a telescope in Hawaii.

Vesta, discovered two centuries ago, is 525 kilometres in diameter and one of the two biggest objects in the asteroid belt.

It is believed to be the remnant of a proto-planet that was knocked apart in space collisions and never assembled itself into a big globe thanks to gravitational forces, as other planets did 4 billion years ago.

The scientists said in an article in the journal Icarus that it seemed TA10 had been blown off the side of Vesta and had whirled off into space. The theory that Vesta took a big hit has been contested in the past because no fragment of its mantle had ever been found.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top 5 Women Who Impacted Technology in 2010

Katie Stanton, International Strategist for Twitter Katie Stanton has impressively long names of companies in her resume. They include the White House, Google Inc, and her latest addition is Twitter. Her remit is working on Twitter’s international strategy and her experience in social media will be a key asset to the company. Katie has a history of working in technology, and her knowledge of departmental laws will help Twitter work alongside government agencies, as she’ll be spearheading the free information approach, especially after the Wikileaks incident. Stanton has been a key player in the techsphere for some time, and this extends to her private life. Following the Haiti disaster she worked with a group of engineers to create a free texting service to help those in need and she is constantly in demand as an expert in both social media and government policy.
Caterina Fake, Co-Founder of Flickr and Hunch Despite having a surname which sounds like a pseudonym for a spy (it’…

AT&T MiFi 2372 review

In the week or so that I have been testing the AT&T MiFi 2372 by Novatel Wireless, it has already saved no less than three lives. First, it saved my cable guy’s life. You see, Time Warner Cable provides the worst home Internet service I have ever experienced. I can’t even think of a close second. If providing terrible home Internet service was a sport, Time Warner Cable would be on its tenth consecutive undefeated season. Forget the fact that my upload speed is capped at 60Kbps and I’m lucky if I can get half that — it has been months since I’ve gone through a full day without at least one service interruption. Months. Unfortunately, Time Warner Cable has an exclusive contract with my building so I have no choice but to endure its abysmal service. Last week, as a Time Warner Cable technician entered my home for the sixth time in two months, I realized that this certainly would have spelled serious trouble had it not been for my trusty new back up device. Before the Mi…

facebook vs google+