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
These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…
Centaurs are small solar system bodies with a semi-major axis between those of the outer planets. They generally have unstable orbits because they cross or have crossed the orbits of one or more of the giant planets; almost all their orbits have dynamic lifetimes of only a few million years, but there is one centaur, (514107) 2015 BZ509, which may be in a stable (though retrograde) orbit. Centaurs typically behave with characteristics of both asteroids and comets. They are named after the mythological centaurs that were a mixture of horse and human. It has been estimated that there are around 44,000 centaurs in the Solar System with diameters larger than 1 kilometer.
The first centaur to be discovered, under the definition of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the one used here, was 944 Hidalgo in 1920. However, they were not recognized as a distinct population until the discovery of 2060 Chiron in 1977. The largest confirmed centaur is 10199 Chariklo, which at 260 kilometers in diameter is as big as a mid-sized main-belt asteroid, and is known to have a system of rings. It was discovered in 1997. However, the lost centaur 1995 SN55 may be somewhat larger.
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- To watch a comet form, a spacecraft could tag...on October 13, 2021 at 12:46 pm
Deep in the solar system, between Jupiter and Neptune, lurk thousands of small chunks of ice and rock. Occasionally, one of them will bump into Jupiter's orbit, get caught and flung into the inner solar system—towards the sun, and us.
- All is quiet among newly studied Centaurson September 15, 2021 at 5:21 pm
Often, the squeaky wheel, or at least the shiniest object, seems to get all the attention. In a new study led by PSI Research Scientist Eva Lilly, it is the inactive Centaurs that take center stage and illuminate why other Centaurs may be so flashy. Centaurs are icy objects out between the orbits of Neptune and Jupiter that in some cases display comet-like tails and jets. This somehow happens despite being located where it is too cold for this kind of activity to occur due to normal […]
- Doctoral student recruiting volunteers in effort...on August 31, 2021 at 7:18 am
The study of active asteroids is a relatively new field of solar system science, focusing on objects that have asteroid-like orbits but look more like comets, with visual characteristics such as tails.
- Discovery of very red bodies in the asteroid belt...on August 2, 2021 at 1:00 pm
Two asteroids (203 Pompeja and 269 Justitia) have been discovered with a redder spectrum than any other object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The discovery was led by HASEGAWA Sunao, Associate Senior Researcher at ISAS JAXA, with an international team of researchers from MIT, the University of Hawai'i, Seoul National University, Kyoto University and the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille
- Comet makes a pit stop near Jupiter's asteroidson February 25, 2021 at 6:56 pm
After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ancient asteroids, called Trojans, that are orbiting the Sun alongside Jupiter. This is the first time a comet-like object has been spotted near the Trojan population.