Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System, but some of its properties are a big challenge to explain. Today’s Astrobite presents a solution to one of these issues: The darkening of Mercury is induced by a high abundance of carbon delivered by meteorites.
The years of 2014 and 2015 may well be known as the time when our exploration of the solar system truly took off, as we explored asteroids, comets, and minor planets. Here’s a look back at what we’ve accomplished in the last year, and what we’re about to achieve in the year to come.
Chondrules are among the oldest components of the solar system and give insight in the solar system’s earliest phase. But how are they formed? In shocks? That seems to be at least difficult.
Simulations show that the Oort cloud contains eight billion asteroids (in addition to hundreds of billions of comets). Do these asteroids pose a threat to Earth?
Obtaining high-resolution spectra of asteroids is challenging. Measuring asteroid albedos in broad photometric wavebands is relatively easy, and potentially provides useful information about surface composition.
Large plumes of water vapor were recently found on the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt. Using Ceres’ rotation, astronomers have located two possible sources for the water vapor on the surface.