Comparing Asteroids by Size [Chart]
This beautiful chart, prepared by The Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla, shows the comparative sizes of the four comets and nine asteroid systems that manmade spacecraft have gotten a good look at. As you can see, Lutetia, which was recently examined by Europe’s Rosetta space probe, is the biggest by a long shot, with a diameter of 130 kilometers.
But as Phil Plait points out, “small doesn’t mean “uninteresting”. These rocks in Emily’s diagram are all fascinating beasts, and the more we learn about them the more compelling they become.”
There’s a super detailed version available at The Planetary Society’s blog; Lakdawalla has also graciously invited readers to drop the diagram in the slide presentation software of their choice, so if you are lucky enough to be in the sort of charmed environment where you regularly see slide presentations involving asteroids, prepare to see this one for a while.
(The Planetary Society via Bad Astronomy)
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