Gaia European Space TelescopeSpace Agency is designed entirely for other purposes. Its main task is to observe the stars in order to clarify the history of the emergence and development of our galaxy. Nevertheless, the apparatus as a side function also monitors the asteroids of the solar system. And most recently, this work has borne fruit. The telescope discovered three asteroids, previously unknown to astronomers. The latter are cosmic stones left over from the time of the formation of our solar system.
Scientists believe that the study of these spaceBoulders can tell them how the Solar System looked like billions of years ago, before planets formed from material around the Sun. According to the portal Space.com, the Gaia telescope discovered three unknown asteroids back in December 2018. Further observation of the objects with the help of the ground telescope of the Haute Provence Observatory (France) allowed to confirm their nature.
This image shows orbits over 14,000.famous asteroids located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. They are marked in bright red and orange, dark red in color denote Trojan asteroids orbiting Jupiter. Yellow asteroids are designated as so-called those bodies whose orbits in some areas are at a distance of 1.3 astronomical units from the Sun, that is, they are approaching the Earth's orbit. The orbits of three new Gaia-discovered asteroids are grayed out.
It is noted that the "trinity" has unusualtrajectories of movement inside the solar system. Their peculiarity is that the inclination of their orbit exceeds 15 degrees relative to the orbital plane of most planets.
"Highly inclined asteroids are not so goodstudied, as with less inclined orbits, since most of the studies tend to focus on the plane where most of the asteroids are located, ”the official statement said.
"At the same time, Gaia can easily watchbecause the telescope scans the entire sky from its observation point in space, therefore, it is possible that the device will be able to find more similar objects in the future and introduce new information to study their properties. ”
Gaia helps to refine orbit parametersasteroids, and also warns of their location, detailing the speed and direction that helps services, watching the small celestial bodies. Several observatories on Earth who respond to Gaia alerts are involved in supporting this work. As indicated in the ESA statement, for such observations a telescope is usually required, whose mirror diameter is at least 1 meter.
When the object is confirmed with a Gaia telescope andby ground stations, it is entered into the catalog of the Minor Planet Center, which is responsible for collecting information about asteroids, comets and other small celestial bodies. Even if Gaia does not find other new asteroids, the telescope’s observations can tell astronomers more about the orbits of those asteroids that are already known.
"To date, several dozenasteroids observed by the Gaia telescope were confirmed by ground tracking stations. However, they all belong to the main asteroid belt. But no one excludes the possibility that the telescope will be able to detect new near-earth asteroids in the future, ”the ESA report summarizes.
Earlier it was reported that Gaia helped more accurately calculate the mass of the Milky Way.
You can discuss the news in our Telegram-chat.