Amateur Astronomer - - 宇宙奥秘 -

A break-up can be tough — especially if you’re an asteroid. A collision can break a big asteroid into thousands of little ones.

破碎可以是十分惨烈的,如果你是一颗小行星就尤其如此。一次碰撞能将一颗大的小行星摧毁成数千个小块。 One of the likely offspring of such a collision was discovered 100 years ago. It gained fame 75 years later as the first asteroid ever to be studied from close range.

100年前,一颗可能是某次类似碰撞产物的星被发现了。75年之后,它作为第一颗被近距离研究的小行星而扬名四海。 Russian astronomer Grigory Neujmin discovered the asteroid in 1916. He named it Gaspra for a resort in Crimea.

1916年,俄国天文学家格里高利·诺伊明发现了这颗小行星。他以克里米亚的一处度假胜地命名它为加斯普拉。 The asteroid orbits near the inner edge of the asteroid belt. Because of its orbit, astronomers classified it as a member of a family of asteroids named for its largest member, Flora. A large impact may have shattered Flora, sending chunks of rock and ice flying off on their own.

这颗小行星的轨道靠近小行星带内侧边缘。因为它的轨道,天文学家们将其归类为花神星族小行星的一员,花神星族小行星以其最大的成员花神星而得名。一次大型撞击可能已经破坏了花神星,让岩块和冰块四散飞扬各行其政。 Gaspra is so small and far away, though, that not much else was known about it until 1991, when the Galileo spacecraft flew just a thousand miles from it on the way to Jupiter.

但小行星加斯普拉如此娇小而遥远,直到1991年伽利略号探测器在去往木星的路上距其仅一千英里掠过它,这之前对它其他方面的了解并不多。 Galileo found that the asteroid is shaped a bit like a spearhead, and it’s about 12 miles long. The craft’s pictures revealed lots of small impact craters on Gaspra, but not many big ones. That suggests that the surface is no more than a few hundred million years old — supporting the idea that it’s a chip off a larger body.

伽利略号发现,这颗小行星的形状有点像矛的尖头,且大约有12英里长。探测器的照片揭示,小行星加斯普拉上面有很多小的撞击坑,但并没有太多大的。这说明了其表面不多于数亿岁,也支持了它是从一块较大的天体上剥落下来的观点。 That scenario is also supported by long, wide grooves on the surface — possible fractures caused by the impact that may have broken up a big asteroid and created a whole family of little ones.


1991年伽利略号探测器经过小行星带时拍下了这张照片。图像是在距离小行星数千千米位置处拍摄的,也是小行星加斯普拉目前最为清晰的影像。图片来源:N A S A / JP L (美国国家航空航天局、喷气推进实验室)

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