Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Asteroid Mathematics

  1. Nov 19, 2004 #1
    I'm doing a very large, externally evaluated math project based on a supposed asteroid impact. The only problem is that I'm having a lot of trouble finding information regarding the average asteroid size, mass, orbital radius and speed, etc. Can anyone help out and maybe give some suggestions - I'm not very well educated in this field.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2004 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Just go to Google or another browser and type in the word asteroid along with limiting words like orbit, mass, etc. You'll get more information than you can use.
  4. Nov 20, 2004 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  5. Nov 22, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    "Average asteroid size" is a tricky phrase. I guess it would depend on how small an object could be and still be considered an asteroid. Whatever that number is will contain the most asteroids.

    The Earth is much more likely to be struck by a small asteroid that would cause no damage or minimal damage than being struck by something large enough to do local or global damage.

    Most asteroids orbit between Jupiter and Mars, and those are not likely to hit Earth. The group of asteroids called NEO or Near Earth Objects, and especially the Earth crossers like Toutatis are the ones likely to hit.

    The minimum speed an impact can occur at is ~11 km / s. This is Earth's escape velocity at the surface, and is also the speed at which an object which falls from an initial velocity of 0 will attain when it reaches the surface. But initial velocity will probably not be 0, but somewhere in the ~1-6 km/s range, so a number slightly higher than 11 km/s would be a more realistic impact speed. Comets can impact much faster.
  6. Nov 24, 2004 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The Minor Planet Center (yes, it's in the US!) is the official repository of all things asteroidal (well, orbits etc). It's a delight to surf, you learn all kinds of strange and interesting things (not to mention that it has all the data you need to calculate any set of parameters you'll ever likely need for your project!): http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/iau/mpc.html
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Asteroid Mathematics
  1. Asteroid database (Replies: 5)

  2. Uses of asteroids? (Replies: 8)

  3. Asteroid density (Replies: 4)

  4. Killer Asteroids (Replies: 36)

  5. Asteroid Composition (Replies: 9)