Asteroids: the big picture

J. F. Bell, D. R. Davis, W. K. Hartmann, M. J. Gaffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

271 Scopus citations


During the past 15yr much progress has been made in the study of the asteroids with optical, infrared, and radar telescopes. Simultaneously a vast body of petrologic, chemical and isotopic data has been acquired for meteorites. This work has demonstrated that asteroids vary widely in composition and thermal history in a systematic but complex way with orbital position and size. It appears that these variations can be explained to first order by a simple model invoking three principal mechanisms: 1) condensation of chondritic material at radial locations in the nebula; 2) intense metamorphic heating after accretion which declined rapidly with both increasing solar distance and smaller planetesimal size; and 3) complex collisional fragmentation. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)921-945
Number of pages25
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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