Thursday, February 4, 2010
Randomness is not random.
The two asteroids are likely part of the same "family" of asteroids, and it might be the same family (Flora) that spawned the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.
Families of asteroids are asteroids that are post-collision remnants of a breakup of a much larger parent asteroid. They all share similar orbital characteristics, meaning their orbits are at similar speeds, similar shapes, and the same distance from the sun. They also spin at roughly the same rate. I am thrilled by the idea that asteroids don't move randomly, but instead are part of families that all move in similar ways. Picture a scattered group of asteroids, all moving at the same pace, same direction, spinning in unison. Pretty, eh? The energy moving through a system organizes that system. Randomness is not random.
The picture is from Hubble.
Got a Post of the Week award (my second!) from Hilary. Thanks Hilary! Go visit her. She's a wonderful photographer.
Lastly, the site is redesigned. I got bored. I'm still futzing with it; suggestions are welcome.