An asteroid is one amongst the millions of heavenly bodies which revolve around the sun every day. Apart from the planets and comets, there are also some metallic and rocky objects which are mostly seen in the inner circles of the solar system. It is these heavenly bodies which are referred to as asteroids. Unlike planets and comets, scientists have not been able to tell us much about asteroids and therefore these structures often leave the common man astonished. However, there are more than a million asteroids in our solar system and most of them are present in the orbit between the planets of Mars and Jupiter. It was only during the 19th century that the first asteroid was discovered by scientists. Though at first glance, several scientists thought of the rocky structure as a different planet, it was only years later that they realized that there were numerous metallic objects that were hanging in space. It was on account of the general shape that the rocky metallic objects were of that they came to be known as asteroids, which means star-shaped in Greek.
Interesting Facts About Asteroids
Fact - 1
Asteroids killed dinosaurs. According to reports in several journals, it is asteroids which were responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs. It was the drop of an asteroid from space on the earth that led to extreme changes in the climate of the earth. It is believed that dinosaurs died gradually because of the sudden change in climate.
Fact - 2
Scientists have seen the presence of dust in asteroids. The dust has been termed as regolith. According to reports, it is the constant movement and collision that asteroids undergo throughout the day between themselves and other heavenly bodies that has led to the formation of dust on its surface. The dust too shows the presence of rocks and sometimes shows itself in bubbles.
Fact - 3
Asteroids have moons. The reason as to why an asteroid is often confused with a planet is because like planets, asteroids too have their own moons. It was in the year 1993 that a spacecraft discovered that the asteroid 243 Ida has its own moon.
Fact - 4
The effect that an asteroid hit can cause to the earth or any other planet largely depends upon the size of the asteroid and the speed at which it has hit the planet. Usually, asteroid hits generate a thermal wave which leads to the incineration of the flora and fauna present within 100 kilometers of the hit. A huge asteroid hit may lead to the formation of dust clouds in the upper layer of the atmosphere which can block the sun’s light. This has a negative impact on not only humans and animals but also green plants who cannot prepare food due to the disruption in the process of photosynthesis.
Fact - 5
Each asteroid has a different composition. It is said that the minerals with which an asteroid is formed depends upon the planet from which the asteroid has broken off during collision in outer space. While asteroids which are closer to the sun are composed of silicate rocks that are rich in carbon, the asteroids that are farther from the sun are rich in iron.
Fact - 6
The asteroids which are situated very close to the earth are known as near-earth asteroids. According to reports from leading scientists, the earth stands in danger of another asteroid collision in the near future. There are three types of near-earth asteroids, termed as the Amors, the Apollos and the Atens.
Hope you enjoyed these interesting facts about asteroids.