What Color Are Asteroids? Classification and Composition Explained

In summary, the conversation discusses the colors of asteroids and whether they refer to spectral colors or the actual colors that would be perceived by a person. The three main classes of asteroids are described: C-type (greyish), S-type (greenish to reddish), and M-type (reddish). The article quoted appears to be referring to the colors perceived by a person with normal eyesight.
  • #1
Albertgauss
Gold Member
294
37
Hi all,
This is such a simple question that seems that it is very hard to find an answer to.

What color are the asteroids (or major groups of asteroids)?

I'm not talking about spectral colors, but actual colors I would see of the rocks that make up the asteroids if they were here on Earth. I found this on the internet. Is the following correct, or are they talking about "spectral colors"?

In addition to classifications of asteroids based on their orbits, most asteroids fall into three classes based on composition. The C-type or carbonaceous are greyish in color and are the most common, including more than 75 percent of known asteroids. They probably consist of clay and stony silicate rocks, and inhabit the main belt's outer regions. The S-type or silicaceous asteroids are greenish to reddish in color, account for about 17 percent of known asteroids, and dominate the inner asteroid belt. They appear to be made of silicate materials and nickel-iron. The M-type or metallic asteroids are reddish in color, make up most of the rest of the asteroids, and dwell in the middle region of the main belt.
 
Astronomy news on Phys.org
  • #2
It seems to me that that the article you quoted is referring to the colours that would be perceived by a person with normal eyesight.
'greyish' is almost by definition the absence of a spectral colour.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes 1oldman2

Related to What Color Are Asteroids? Classification and Composition Explained

1. What determines the color of an asteroid?

The color of an asteroid is determined by its composition and the wavelengths of light that are reflected off its surface. Different minerals and compounds present on the asteroid's surface absorb and reflect certain wavelengths, resulting in the perceived color.

2. Why are some asteroids darker than others?

Some asteroids may appear darker because they have a higher concentration of carbon-based materials or are covered in a layer of dark dust. These materials absorb more light, making the asteroid appear darker in color.

3. Are all asteroids the same color?

No, all asteroids are not the same color. They can range in color from dark shades of red and black to lighter shades of yellow and gray. This variation is due to differences in composition and surface features.

4. How do scientists classify the color of asteroids?

Scientists use a color classification system called the Bus-DeMeo taxonomy to categorize the color of asteroids. This system assigns a letter and number combination to each asteroid based on its color. The letters represent the asteroid's surface composition, while the numbers indicate the degree of hydration or alteration on the surface.

5. Can the color of an asteroid change over time?

Yes, the color of an asteroid can change over time due to factors such as exposure to solar radiation, collisions with other objects, or the presence of water or ice on the surface. These changes can alter the composition and surface features of the asteroid, resulting in a different perceived color.

Similar threads

Replies
1
Views
525
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
21
Views
1K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
15
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
6K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
1
Views
3K
  • Sci-Fi Writing and World Building
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
4
Views
9K
  • MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, LaTeX
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • MATLAB, Maple, Mathematica, LaTeX
Replies
6
Views
4K
Back
Top