Kleopatra main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter

In summary, Kleopatra is a large, metalic asteroid that was probably the core of a larger body that was destroyed in a violent collision. Kleopatra's strange shape is the result of tidal stripping, which is a process that has been happening in our galaxy for past times.
  • #1


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The asteroid, named 216 Kleopatra, is a large object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter; it measures about 217 kilometers (135 miles) long and about 94 kilometers (58 miles) wide. Kleopatra was discovered in 1880, but until now, its shape was unknown.

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"With its dog bone shape, Kleopatra is one of the most unusual asteroids we've seen in the Solar System," said Dr. Steven Ostro of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, who led a team of astronomers observing Kleopatra with the 1,000-foot (305- meter) telescope of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. "Kleopatra could be the remnant of an incredibly violent collision between two asteroids that did not completely shatter and disperse all the fragments."

This page also states that klopatra is metalic, and could have been the
core of a larger body, but the shape is wrong shurly.
I don't buy the argument that it was once two bodies that have joined by
Anyone have more on this?
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  • #2
A metallic asteroid should also have a significant fraction of precious metals. Kleopatra may be a good name for it!
Anyone for chewing on the dog bone?

  • #3
From the same page.

"It is amazing that nature has produced a giant metallic object with such a peculiar shape," said Ostro. "We can think of some possible scenarios, but at this point none is very satisfying. The object's existence is a perplexing mystery that tells us how far we have to go to understand more about asteroid shapes and collisions."

Could the core have been "plastic", when the collision occurred, and
centrifugal forces form this shape?
  • #4
AFAIK, Ostro is one of the leading researchers in this area.

However, the field is relatively young, and there are few (none?) examples of the models being validated by 'up close and personal' photos from flyby or orbiting spaceprobes.

As is often (usually?) the case, the next ~30 years will see all manner of refinements, adjustments, and so on, and what will emerge is that Ostro et al got ~50-95% 'right', and that there is great fascination in the ~5-50% that they got 'not quite right'. :smile:
  • #5

ashamed to say i do not know the name,

AFAIK, Ostro is one of the leading researchers in this area.

but soon will :smile:
  • #6
The process, "Tidal stripping", makes me think that our galaxy has
experienced massive disruption in the past.

Ostro sj?
  • #7
http://www.aas.org/dps/MISC_NOTICES/030921_prizes2003.html [Broken] ... "Ostro has been a pioneer and principal driving force in the area of planetary radar astronomy and continues to push the capabilities of this field to new heights. He is recognized for the first ever main-belt asteroid detection, of Ceres, as a graduate student and the extensive program of radar observations of near-Earth and main-belt asteroids since. The result has been a series of spatially-resolved images that have profoundly impacted our understanding of these bodies. Notable discoveries include the first strong evidence for a contact binary asteroid, 4769 Castalia; the most compelling evidence for a metallic, near-Earth asteroid, 1986 DA; the first confirmed non-principal axis rotator asteroid, 4179 Toutatis; the first mapping of a decameter, monolithic, rapidly rotating asteroid, 1998 KY26; and the first clearly resolved radar images of a main-belt asteroid, 216 Kleopatra. He made the first radar detection of Phobos and has been involved in radar studies of Saturn's rings, the Galilean satellites and Mars." (extracts)
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  • #8

Has our spiral arm been disrupted via mergers "Canis major", other, in
past times?

1. What is Kleopatra main asteroid belt?

Kleopatra is a large asteroid that resides in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered in 1880 and is named after the Egyptian queen Cleopatra.

2. How big is Kleopatra main asteroid belt?

Kleopatra has a diameter of about 217 kilometers, making it one of the largest asteroids in the main belt. It has a unique shape, resembling a dog bone or a dumbbell, which is thought to be the result of a past collision.

3. What is the composition of Kleopatra main asteroid belt?

Kleopatra is classified as an M-type asteroid, which means it is rich in metals such as iron and nickel. It also contains silicate minerals and may have a thin layer of regolith, or loose surface material, covering its surface.

4. Are there any moons orbiting Kleopatra main asteroid belt?

Yes, Kleopatra has two small moons, named Alexhelios and Cleoselene. They were discovered in 2008 and 2011, respectively, and are thought to be the result of a past impact that broke off from Kleopatra's surface.

5. What is the significance of studying Kleopatra main asteroid belt?

Kleopatra is an important object to study because it can provide insight into the formation and evolution of the main asteroid belt. Its unique shape and composition also make it a fascinating subject for further scientific research.

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