Asteroid Size and Damage Scale asteroids and planetary defense Scale Damage and Asteroid Size

Asteroid Size and Damage Scale asteroids and planetary defense Scale Damage and Asteroid Size

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Interesting facts about space.

The model indicates that Triton originated as part of a binary system, much like Pluto and its large moon Charon. "It's not so much that Charon orbits Pluto, but rather both move around their mutual center of mass, which lies between two objects," Agnor added.



and here is another

Gravity can pull binary systems apart when the sister objects travel too close to a massive body--such as the planet Neptune. The orbital motions of the two sister objects results in one member traveling slower than the other. This can disrupt the system and permanently alter the orbital companion. This mechanism is termed an exchange reaction, and it could have shot Triton into a number of different orbits around Neptune, Agnor continued.



and finally

NASA's Galileo spacecraft imaged Europa during a flyby on September 7, 1996. In fact, so far there have only been flyby missions to this fascinating object. Galileo viewed Europa's surface much more closely than the Pioneers and Voyagers, and it revealed to astronomers a bizarre surface that looked like broken glass, repaired by an icy glue oozing up from below.

Other facts:

Born approximately 4.51 billion years ago, Earth's companion world formed soon after our own planet's birth in the primordial Solar System. The average separation between Earth and Moon is about 238,000 miles (1.28 light-seconds), and it is locked in synchronous rotation with Earth--meaning that it always shows us the same face. The near-side of our Moon is known for its bewitching dark volcanic maria (Latin for seas) that are located between large impact craters, as well as for its very ancient, bright crustal highlands. The lunar surface is really extremely dark--even though it appears to be very bright in the night sky above our planet--with a reflectance only a bit higher than that of old asphalt. The prominent position of our lunar companion in the dark midnight sky, as well as its rhythmic and regular cycle of phases, made our Moon an important influence on human culture ever since ancient times--especially in mythology, art, language, and on calendars.



Earth's Moon is the fifth largest moon in our Solar System, and the only world beyond our own that we have walked upon, leaving our footprints behind in moon dust as a silent testimony that once we existed, and had been there. Our Moon is both the brightest and largest object in Earth's night sky, and many astronomers think that our bewitching lunar companion was born as a result of an ancient collision between our planet and an ill-fated Mars-sized protoplanet that has been named Theia. There are other theories that have been devised to explain our Moon's origin, but the Giant Impact theory is considered to be the best explanation. When the doomed Theia blasted into the primordial Earth, it launched into the sky above our planet the debris resulting from that catastrophic crash. The debris eventually coalesced into Earth's Moon.



The astronomer Tycho Brahe, during the 17th century, measured the diurnal parallax of Mars that Johannes Kepler had used in order to make a preliminary calculation of the relative distance to the Red Planet. When the earliest telescopes to be used for astronomical purposes finally became available, the diurnal parallax of Mars was measured again in an attempt to determine the distance between our Sun and Earth. Giovanni Domenico Cassini was the first to make this measurement in 1692--but the early parallax measurements were hindered by the primitive quality of the instruments. The only occultation of Mars by the planet Venus was observed on October 13, 1590, by Michael Maestlin at Heidelberg. In 1610, Mars was viewed by the great astronomer Galileo Galilei, who was the first to make use of a primitive telescope for astronomical purposes. The Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens was the first to draw a map of Mars that showed terrain features.