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Hygiea upgrade?

Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:08 am
by brian livesey
When is an asteroid not an asteroid? We are used to seeing these objects as characteristically potato-shaped, with the exception of Ceres, which is spheroidal in shape. This 590 miles diameter body was eventually given the status of a dwarf planet because its gravitational field is strong enough to have caused it to aggregate into a spheroid.
Now, high-resolution imaging of the "asteroid" Hygiea with the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope ( VLT ), seems to indicate that this 280 miles diameter body is spheroidal.
The International Astronomical Union will need to consider whether to give Hygiea dwarf planet status.The data is published in the journal NATURE ASTRONOMY.