Note: This is a 360° Video — press and hold to explore it!
Solar System Sun
Terrestrial Planet Mercury, Venus, Earth (Moon), Mars
Asteroid Belt Ceres, Vesta
Jovian Planet Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
Kuiper Belt Pluto, Haumea, Makemake
Scattered Disc Eris, Sedna, Planet X
Oort Cloud Etc. Scholz’s Star
Small Body Comet, Centaur, Asteroid
- Space Rocks! (1/4/2019) - It was a fantastic holiday season for space fans! In fact, there was so much going on, it was almost impossible to keep up with it all. According to your news sources and interests, you have probably heard about at least some of the amazing things that happened, but chances are you haven’t heard about … Continue reading Space Rocks!
- Get Lost in Space! (9/14/2018) - Way back in August, in anticipation of the start of a new school year, I set out to update the pages on this site related to space. Those pages tend to be popular among the teachers and students who use Cosma, and I happen to enjoy updating them, too. It sounded like a short, fun … Continue reading Get Lost in Space!
- Asteroids Galore! (6/27/2018) - Head’s up! You’re going to hear a lot about asteroids over the next week or so. The good news is that none of it is related to any specific asteroid hitting us. This media blitz is due to a trifecta of asteroid related events this week. One big reason you’ll hear so much about asteroids … Continue reading Asteroids Galore!
- Octopuses from Space! (5/20/2018) - Did you hear the one about the octopuses from space? It sounds like the title of a cheesy sci-fi movie, doesn’t it? But it isn’t, this time, or at least, yet. Instead, it’s actually an oddball theory that’s been put forth in a recently published “scientific” article that’s getting quite a lot of buzz in … Continue reading Octopuses from Space!
- Asteroids Everywhere (6/30/2017) - Friday, June 30 is Asteroid Day, so you are going to be hearing a LOT about Asteroids over the next day or so (see Asteroid Day.org, NASA, YouTube and Wikipedia). The reason Asteroid Day falls on this date is because it’s the anniversary of the 1908 “Tunguska event” when scientists believe a 50 meter wide … Continue reading Asteroids Everywhere
These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
asteroid : any of the small rocky celestial bodies found especially between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter — Webster
Asteroids are a class of Small Solar System Bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones. These terms have historically been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not show the disk of a planet and was not observed to have the characteristics of an active comet, but as small objects in the outer Solar System were discovered, their volatile-based surfaces were found to more closely resemble comets, and so were often distinguished from traditional asteroids. Thus the term asteroid has come increasingly to refer specifically to the small rocky–icy and metallic bodies of the inner Solar System out to the orbit of Jupiter. They are grouped with the outer bodies—centaurs, Neptune trojans, and trans-Neptunian objects—as minor planets, which is the term preferred in astronomical circles.
There are millions of asteroids, many thought to be the often shattered remnants of planetesimals, bodies within the young Sun’s solar nebula that never grew large enough to become planets. A large majority of known asteroids orbit in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter or co-orbital with Jupiter (the Jupiter Trojans). However, other orbital families exist with significant populations, including the near-Earth asteroids. Individual asteroids are classified by their characteristic spectra, with the majority falling into three main groups: C-type, S-type, and M-type. These were named after and are generally identified with carbon-rich, stony, and metallic compositions, respectively. — Wikipedia
Near-Earth Objects (Minor Planet Center, International Astronomical Union)
Near Earth Asteroids (Minor Planet Center, International Astronomical Union)
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (Minor Planet Center, International Astronomical Union)
1+ KM Near-Earth Objects (Minor Planet Center, International Astronomical Union)
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Image: Arm out to asteroid
on June 5, 2020 at 2:53 pm
This robotic arm, moving along a 33-m-long track, forms ESA's GNC Rendezvous, Approach and Landing Simulator, used to simulate close approach to targets such as drifting satellites or asteroids.
Image: OSIRIS-REx swoops over sample site Osprey
on June 4, 2020 at 10:55 am
This view of sample site Osprey on asteroid Bennu is a mosaic of images collected by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on May 26. A total of 347 PolyCam images were stitched together and corrected to produce the mosaic, which shows the site at 0.2 inches (5 mm) per pixel at full size. The spacecraft took these images during an 820-foot (250-meter) reconnaissance pass over the site, which is the closest Osprey has been imaged. The pass was designed to provide high-resolution imagery to identify the […]
Scientist captures new images of Martian moon...
on June 3, 2020 at 2:17 pm
Christopher Edwards, assistant professor in NAU's Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, just processed new images of the Martian moon Phobos that give scientists insight into the physical properties of the moon and its composition. The images of the small moon, which is about 25 kilometers (15 miles) in diameter, were captured by NASA's 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter. When reviewed in combination with three previously released images, these new images could ultimately help settle the debate […]
Martian moon's orbit hints at an ancient ring of...
on June 3, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Scientists from the SETI Institute and Purdue University have found that the only way to produce Deimos's unusually tilted orbit is for Mars to have had a ring billions of years ago. While some of the more massive planets in our solar system have giant rings and numerous big moons, Mars only has two small, misshapen moons, Phobos and Deimos. Although these moons are small, their peculiar orbits hide important secrets about their past.
Could corporations control territory in space?...
on June 2, 2020 at 1:20 pm
Last weekend, NASA launched US astronauts to the International Space Station for the first time in a decade, in a rocket designed by Elon Musk's SpaceX.
Asteroids Ryugu and Bennu were formed by the...
on June 1, 2020 at 7:51 pm
Scientists with NASA's first asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx, are gaining a new understanding of asteroid Bennu's carbon-rich material and signature "spinning-top" shape. The team, led by the University of Arizona, has discovered that the asteroid's shape and hydration levels provide clues to the origins and histories of this and other small bodies.
New study provides maps, ice favorability index...
on June 1, 2020 at 4:50 pm
The 49ers who panned for gold during California's Gold Rush didn't really know where they might strike it rich. They had word of mouth and not much else to go on.
Astronomers predict bombardment from asteroids...
on May 29, 2020 at 1:20 pm
The planetary system around star HR8799 is remarkably similar to our solar system. It has four gas giants in between two asteroid belts. A research team led by RuG and SRON used this similarity to model the delivery of materials by asteroids, comets and other minor bodies within the system. Their simulation shows that the four gas planets receive material delivered by minor bodies, just as in our solar system.
Study shows erosion of ozone layer responsible...
on May 27, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Researchers at the University of Southampton have shown that an extinction event 360 million years ago, that killed much of the Earth's plant and freshwater aquatic life, was caused by a brief breakdown of the ozone layer that shields the Earth from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is a newly discovered extinction mechanism with profound implications for our warming world today.
Asteroid, climate change not responsible for mass...
on May 27, 2020 at 3:46 pm
A team of University of Rhode Island scientists and statisticians conducted a sophisticated quantitative analysis of a mass extinction that occurred 215 million years ago and found that the cause of the extinction was not an asteroid or climate change, as had previously been believed. Instead, the scientists concluded that the extinction did not occur suddenly or simultaneously, suggesting that the disappearance of a wide variety of species was not linked to any single catastrophic event.