Asteroids, comets and Kuiper belt

Asteroids, comets and Kuiper belt are bodies smaller than planets that orbit the sun. Asteroids are composed of metals and rock, whereas comets also contain ice and dust. The Kuiper belt is a collection of such bodies that orbits at the edge of the solar system.

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Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    It remains controversial whether or not impact melt sheets produced by asteroid impacts were able to undergo large-scale igneous differentiation. Here the authors present evidence for large igneous differentiation in one of these sheets and argue that this process has contributed to the evolution and lithological diversity of the proto-crusts on terrestrial planets.

    • Rais Latypov
    • , Sofya Chistyakova
    • , Richard Grieve
    •  & Hannu Huhma
  • Research |

    Using a pair of modest telescopes, Arimatsu et al. have observed an occultation event that purports to have been caused by a kilometre-sized Kuiper belt object (KBO). KBOs of this order of magnitude in size have not been detected before, but are likely to represent the most populous size of object in the Kuiper belt.

    • K. Arimatsu
    • , K. Tsumura
    • , F. Usui
    • , Y. Shinnaka
    • , K. Ichikawa
    • , T. Ootsubo
    • , T. Kotani
    • , T. Wada
    • , K. Nagase
    •  & J. Watanabe
  • Research |

    Infrared and neutron spectroscopic observations by Dawn give contrasting results on the elemental composition of Ceres’s surface, which can be reconciled by assuming that Ceres’s surface contains ~20 wt% of carbon, coming from impacts by carbonaceous asteroids and/or generated by extensive aqueous alteration.

    • S. Marchi
    • , A. Raponi
    • , T. H. Prettyman
    • , M. C. De Sanctis
    • , J. Castillo-Rogez
    • , C. A. Raymond
    • , E. Ammannito
    • , T. Bowling
    • , M. Ciarniello
    • , H. Kaplan
    • , E. Palomba
    • , C. T. Russell
    • , V. Vinogradoff
    •  & N. Yamashita
    Nature Astronomy 3, 140-145
  • Research |

    Chariklo, Haumea and potentially Chiron are the only known ringed Solar System objects that are not giant planets. The rings of these minor bodies are relatively further from their hosts than those around giant planets; this increase is shown to be due to resonances driven by modest topographic features or elongations.

    • B. Sicardy
    • , R. Leiva
    • , S. Renner
    • , F. Roques
    • , M. El Moutamid
    • , P. Santos-Sanz
    •  & J. Desmars
    Nature Astronomy 3, 146-153
  • Research |

    A network of parallel ridges on the northwestern border of Sputnik Planitia on Pluto are the traces of debris material deposited by a glaciation of icy nitrogen that happened early in Pluto’s history, and left there once the N2 ice disappeared by sublimation.

    • Oliver L. White
    • , Jeffrey M. Moore
    • , Alan D. Howard
    • , William B. McKinnon
    • , James T. Keane
    • , Kelsi N. Singer
    • , Tanguy Bertrand
    • , Stuart J. Robbins
    • , Paul M. Schenk
    • , Bernard Schmitt
    • , Bonnie J. Buratti
    • , S. Alan Stern
    • , Kimberly Ennico
    • , Cathy B. Olkin
    • , Harold A. Weaver
    • , Leslie A. Young
    • , Jeffrey M. Moore
    • , William B. McKinnon
    • , John R. Spencer
    • , Ross A. Beyer
    • , Marc W. Buie
    • , Bonnie J. Buratti
    • , Andrew F. Cheng
    • , Dale P. Cruikshank
    • , Cristina M. Dalle Ore
    • , G. Randy Gladstone
    • , William M. Grundy
    • , Alan D. Howard
    • , Tod R. Lauer
    • , Ivan R. Linscott
    • , Francis Nimmo
    • , Cathy B. Olkin
    • , Joel W. Parker
    • , Simon B. Porter
    • , Harold J. Reitsema
    • , Dennis C. Reuter
    • , James H. Roberts
    • , Stuart J. Robbins
    • , Paul M. Schenk
    • , Mark R. Showalter
    • , Kelsi N. Singer
    • , Darrel F. Strobel
    • , Michael E. Summers
    • , G. Len Tyler
    • , Harold A. Weaver
    • , Oliver L. White
    • , Orkan M. Umurhan
    • , Maria Banks
    • , Olivier S. Barnouin
    • , Veronica J. Bray
    • , Brian Carcich
    • , Andrew L. Chaikin
    • , Carrie L. Chavez
    • , Cindy A. Conrad
    • , Douglas P. Hamilton
    • , Carly J. A. Howett
    • , Jason D. Hofgartner
    • , Joshua A. Kammer
    • , Carey M. Lisse
    • , Annie Marcotte
    • , Alex H. Parker
    • , Kurt D. Retherford
    • , Magda Saina
    • , Kirby Runyon
    • , Eric Schindhelm
    • , John Stansberry
    • , Andrew J. Steffl
    • , Ted Stryk
    • , Henry B. Throop
    • , Constantine C. C. Tsang
    • , Anne J. Verbiscer
    • , Helene Winters
    • , Amanda M. Zangari
    • , Richard P. Binzel
    • , Alissa M. Earle
    • , S. Alan Stern
    • , Harold A. Weaver
    • , Leslie A. Young
    •  & Kimberly Ennico
    Nature Astronomy 3, 62-68
  • Research |

    Dust accretion onto a white dwarf follows a broken power-law decay, assuming the dust source is mainly delivered via dynamically falling asteroids perturbed by a Jovian planet. Dust disks are present in the early stage of the metal pollution process.

    • Di-Chang Chen
    • , Ji-Lin Zhou
    • , Ji-Wei Xie
    • , Ming Yang
    • , Hui Zhang
    • , Hui-Gen Liu
    • , En-Si Liang
    • , Zhou-Yi Yu
    •  & Jia-Yi Yang
    Nature Astronomy 3, 69-75

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