When asteroids collide

By Phil Plait | May 4, 2011 2:00 pm

In honor of Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you)…

I’ve been running around a lot the past week, and a few stories I wanted to write about slipped past me. One in particular was about an asteroid collision in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter; it was observed by the orbiting telescopes Swift and Hubble. All the more aggravating, I spent years working with both observatories (research with Hubble, and educational outreach with Swift)! I really wanted to write about this. Plus, asteroid collisions are cool, and y’all should get a chance to hear about them.

Happily for me, the folks at NASA (specifically Scott Wiessinger who makes videos for the space agency) put together a good story about the collision in easy-to-digest video form:

Awesome. Now back to my regularly scheduled running around.

Related posts:

Hubble captures picture of an asteroid collision
Ten things you don’t know about comets
Repeat after me: Apophis is not a danger

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, NASA

Comments (7)

  1. Scott Davis

    we can do it better.

  2. Michael Swanson

    “…collision in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter…”

    I completely misread that, and spent about three brow-furrowing seconds thinking, “Jupiter and Mars collided in the main belt? Huh?”

    I not so smart.

  3. RwFlynn

    Wow. That was some impressive production value in that video. Are Goddard’s videos like this very often? Gotta check out their YouTube channel.

  4. Electro

    Man Alive!!…that was well put together.

  5. Chris A.

    @Michael Swanson (#2):
    “This morning, I watched a jet airliner take off through my bedroom window.” Which is to say, you’re not the only one.

  6. Great videoclip – I love it! I’ve linked & shared this via facebook too just so’z you know. :-)

    I had read earlier in an astronomy mag item that a tail or coma had been found around Schelia and that suggested the asteroid was really a comet in disguise. But I hadn’t heard this part about it being a asteroid impact on an asteroid before – awesome. 8)

  7. Raoul

    Cool. I like how the asteroids make a low “boom” sound when they collide. I didn’t know they did that.


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