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By Linda T. Elkins-Tanton

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Extra resources for Asteroids, Meteorites, and Comets, Revised Edition (The Solar System)

Example text

Immediately they understood that these were small, rocky bodies orbiting the Sun; there was no controversy about their characteristics, only about their creation. After all, their discovery was easily explained by improvements in telescopes and the diligence of scientists in mapping the heavens, and the paths of asteroids in their orbits around the Sun could be tracked. The possibility that these small bodies could have any interaction with the Earth, however, was long disbelieved and then hotly debated, before the current view of the solar system was developed.

R. Hind, London 1847 9 Metis 114 (184) A. Graham, Markree 1848 10 Hygiea 279 (450) A. de Gasparis, 1849 Naples 15 Eunomia 169 (272) A. de Gasparis, 1851 Naples 243 Ida 36 × 14 (58 × 23) J. Palisa, Vienna 1884 433 Eros 21 × 8 × 8 (33 × 13 × 13) G. 5 (19 G. N. 4) W. 6) K. 9) E. F. Helin, Palomar 1976 2060 Chiron 111 (180) C. T. 5) C. S. and E. M. ) S. F. ” All these stories indicate recognition that the meteorites are special stones, and some indicate that they fell onto the surface of the Earth.

Herschel’s floor is well defined and covered with rubble, showing a clear central peak and terraced walls. ╇ (NASA/JPL/ Galileo) the fact that it is a larger crater. The flatness of Ptolomaeus’s floor is due to basalt filling, much as the large mare basins are filled. Ptolomaeus’s basalt filling is pocked with small impacts that are thought to have been caused by material excavated by Herschel (these are called Herschel’s “secondaries”). The first suggestion that craters may be formed by impact came in 1824 when Franz von Paula Gruithuisen, a professor of astronomy at Munich, hypothesized on meteorite impacts.

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