At first glance, looking at a bunch of space rocks doesn't sound that exciting. Like, aren't they just a bunch of rubble? What use can they be in understanding the Solar System compared to looking at planets or moons?
Turns out that asteroids are key to figuring out how the Solar System came to be, and that they're more interesting than they appear at first glance. Below, we have 10 facts about asteroids that will make you reconsider that biased first impression.
Asteroids are leftovers of the early Solar System.
The leading theory about how our neighborhood came to be is this: the Sun coalesced from a compressed grouping of gas that eventually began fusing atoms and creating a protostar. Meanwhile, the dust and debris nearby the Sun began to coalesce. Small grains became small rocks, which crashed into each other to form bigger ones. The survivors of this chaotic period are the planets and the moons that we see today … as well as a few smaller bodies. By studying asteroids, for example, we get a sense of what the Solar System used to look like billions of years ago.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2015-02-ten-facts-asteroids.html
Over 75 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) lies NGC 4981 — a spiral galaxy with a rather explosive past.
NGC 4981 was discovered on 17 April 1784 by William Herschel, and subsequently documented in John Dreyer’s New General Catalog. Over a century later, on 23 April 1968, the galaxy once again made it into the records when a Type la supernova — a stellar explosion in a binary star system — occurred within its confines: SN 1968I. SN 1968I, however, was not to be the galaxy’s only supernova. Decades later, the core collapse of a massive star led to supernova SN 2007c. Read full article here