Differentiate between asteroids and minor planets. While enumerating three minor planets, discuss their significance.
Asteroids are chunks of rocks in the space which orbit around the Sun. Asteroids are of different kinds:
Asteroids of inner solar system – minor planets.
Asteroids of outer solar system – Distant minor planets.
Large asteroids – Planetoids.
Minor planets occupy a significant place in space research because, they are considered as remains of the original Solar system before evolution. Studies say that they may still contain information about the primordial processes. Thus studying the minor planets can give us a picture of the young solar nebula and the big bang event.
The minor planets are of three kinds-
- Centaurs- These rocky bodies occur between the planets Jupiter and Neptune.
- Trojans- These asteroids have an orbit same as that of planets. There are Jupiter trojans, Neptune trojans, Mars trojans, etc. A recent research also discovered Earth trojan.
- Trans-Neptunian Objects- These are rock chunks with orbits the sun beyond Neptune. First Trans Neptunian Object discovered was Pluto in 1930
Most of the minor planets originate in the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Others are found in the outer solar system, beyond Neptune.