One clan of asteroids is called the Flora Family. Its largest member is the eighth asteroid ever discovered and it's at opposition this month. Continue reading →
¡SkyCaramba! Weekly astronomy blog for the week ending July 13, 2013
Almost a century ago, Japanese astronomer Kiyotsugu Hirayama studied asteroid orbits and found that although many asteroids were far from each other, their orbits were similar. He felt that if dozens or hundreds of similar objects orbit at about the same distance from the sun, in nearly identical ellipses, and in nearly the same plane, they can be thought of as being in their own class separate from other asteroids. It may be that very long ago these related asteroids broke apart from the same big object in a collision with something else big.
One clan of asteroids is called the Flora Family. Its largest member is Flora, the eighth asteroid ever discovered. More than 800 asteroids in the Flora Family orbit the sun about 2.2 astronomical units (Earth-Sun distances) from the sun. They are in the inner part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Hirayama announced his work classifying asteroids into families in 1918. Although the Flora Family wasn’t ...