You don’t hear every day about asteroids measuring 160 miles (257 kilometers) in length, that’s for sure. But astronomers are keeping an eye on such an imposing space object, and they even managed to capture the most detailed images about it yet. Known as the Kleopatra “Dog Bone” asteroid, the object has been more exposed than ever in images thanks to the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory, according to SciTechDaily.com.
Due to the new observations, astronomers were able to constrain the 3D shape and mass of the asteroid in a more accurate way than ever before.
“A truly unique body”
The Kleopatra asteroid is located in the Asteroid Belt between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid has been known for a lot of time, and you’ve already guessed why it’s called a “dog-bone asteroid”. Exactly, its shape resembles that little treat that we like to give to our non-speaking friends.
Franck Marchis, an astronomer who led the study, declared as quoted by SciTechDaily.com:
Kleopatra is truly a unique body in our Solar System,
Science makes a lot of progress thanks to the study of weird outliers. I think Kleopatra is one of those and understanding this complex, multiple asteroid system can help us learn more about our Solar System.
The asteroid belt is a torus-shaped region from our Solar System that contains many irregularly shaped bodies of various sizes. There are lots of asteroids and a few dwarf planets.
Currently, there are six dwarf planets in our Solar System that were designated by the IAU: Ceres, Eris, Haumea, 2015 RR245, Makemake, and Pluto. The last one has a very interesting story, as it was once considered a planet.