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Asteroid Groups

Asteroid Groups

In the main asteroid belt, there are groups of asteroids that form clusters in similar orbits. Within the groups are smaller groups known as families who show orbital characteristics that are so similar that it has led to to theories that these families were formed by larger rocks being broken up by collisions.

Main belt – proper elements and families – [sajri.astronomy.cz]

asteroid – [daviddarling.info]

Asteroid groups

An asteroid group is a collection of asteroids that move in generally similar orbits. Within a group there may be one or more families of asteroids whose orbital characteristics are so much alike that they almost certainly came from the breakup of a single parent body. Most groups and families (generally named after the first-discovered member) are found in or near the main asteroid belt. They include the Hungaria group, Flora family, Nysa-Polana family, Phocaea group, Koronis family, Eos family, Themis family, Cybele group, Alinda group, and Hilda group. The three largest families (Eos, Koronis, and Themis) have been determined to be compositionally homogeneous. If the asteroids belonging to them are considered to be fragments of a single parent body, then these parent bodies probably had diameters of 100 to 300 km. The smaller families have not been as well studied because they have fewer and smaller members; however, it is known that some of the smaller families are compositionally inhomogeneous and that, at least in some cases, what are observed are pieces of a geochemically differentiated parent body. Beyond the main belt are the Jupiter Trojans, while inside the belt are the Mars-crossers and Mars Trojans. Even closer to the Sun are three groups of near-Earth asteroids: the Amor group, Aten group, and the Apollo group.

Eos family
Koronis family
Themis family

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