Astronomers have obtained detailed images of the huge asteroid Pallas.
The asteroid Pallas is the second asteroid discovered: it was opened in March 1802 by Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers. Object refers to the main asteroid belt; making the diameter of 512 kilometers, it is the third largest object in the belt after Ceres and Vesta, writes “Popular mechanics”.
Although the company was opened a long time ago, it remains rather poorly studied. In this regard, the researchers decided to explore the subject in more detail, using the SPHERE on the telescope of the Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.
Researchers in two observation sessions, separated by two years, received a total of 11 images Pallada, from different angles. These images were eventually used to create a 3D reconstruction of the shape of the asteroid and its surface.
The scientists saw a huge number of craters on the Pallas; 36 of which the width is more than 30 kilometers. According to scientists, the craters cover more than 10 percent of the surface of Pallas.
Experts suggest such a feature of Pallas can be explained by its inclined orbit that increases the chances of collision of the asteroid with other objects; scientists believe that Athena is experiencing two to three times more collisions than Ceres or Vesta.
Among the features on the surface of Pallada, spotted by researchers, is a giant impact crater on the equator over the width of about 400 km (it, by calculations of scientists, could have formed as a result of collision Pallas with a width of 20-40 km).