View Full Version : Discussion: Asteroids Change Colour With Age

2004-May-20, 06:38 PM
SUMMARY: A team of astronomers led by the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy have found evidence that asteroids change colour as they get older. The team used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which has accurate colour measurements on 100,000 asteroids. They found that asteroids turn redder over time because of the constant bombardment of radiation from the Sun and cosmic rays. With more research, astronomers should soon be able to judge the age of an asteroid just by its colour.

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2004-May-20, 08:34 PM
This sounds like oxidation of iron to the red oxide we know as rust.

Regardless of the chemical species involved in the colour change, the colour must depend on chemical composition - in addition to age of the asteroid's surface.

The "age of the asteroid's surface" is not necessarily related to the "formation time of the asteroid".

The "age of the asteroid's surface" is probably more like the "time span since the skillet surface was last cleaned."

With kind regards,


2004-May-20, 11:08 PM
Funny, though, we haven't seen an asteroid yet that wasn't charcoal-brown.

2004-May-20, 11:40 PM
Just like an old iron rocks... Born and then aging...

2004-May-20, 11:45 PM
What a beautiful sight, backed by an incredible support B)

2004-May-21, 12:11 AM
Yes and yes. Looks like rust, and what would resurface an Asteroid?
The Solar Wind? Cometary Debris? Micrometeors?

More questions :)