China finds 'peculiar asteroid'

16:12, August 19, 2010      

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A "peculiar asteroid" discovered by the Purple Mountain Observatory under the Chinese Academy of Sciences was recently acknowledged by the International Minor Planet Center, according to relevant departments on Aug. 18.

The asteroid has a very flat orbit and is the first "peculiar asteroid" China has ever found.

Currently, the public is familiar with the main-belt asteroids and the near-Earth asteroids with strange orbits, including the Earth-approaching asteroids and the centaurs. However, there are other asteroids found with very peculiar orbits and the international astronomical circle has not given them a clear classification, so they are called "peculiar asteroids."

Experts said that the unusual aspect of the asteroid is that there may be water ice and methane ice on its surface, which may have kept the most of the original material from the birth of the solar system as well as the features of an asteroid and a comet. It indicates the diversity and complexity of the objects in the solar system and has significance to research on the origin and evolution of solar system objects.

By People's Daily Online
Additional support provided by LOTO


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