(ORDO NEWS) — After the discovery of the big four asteroids, the search for new asteroids remained unsuccessful over the next 40 years.
Olbers never found out that a huge number of asteroids are moving between Mars and Jupiter, filling a thick torus, called the asteroid ring. He died five years before the string of their discoveries began. Neither Piazzi nor Harding lived to see this.
At the end of 1845, Carl Ludwig Gencke discovered the fifth asteroid (9m, 5), which was named Astrea. A year and a half later – on June 1, 1847 – the tireless Genke discovers the sixth asteroid, named Hebe.
In the same year, the American J. E. Hemd discovers Iris and Flora, and a little later, the Englishman D. Htnd discovers them. Then the openings follow in a continuous series.
Fourteen asteroids in 9 years (from 1852 to 1861) were discovered by the German artist Hermann Mayer Solomon Goldschmidt.
In 1860, 62 asteroids were already known, by 1870 – 109, by 1880 – 211. And then less and less new asteroids began to appear.
The “reserves” of large and rather bright objects have run out. Now asteroids 13-14m were discovered, and only occasionally an object missed earlier came across. Such, for example, was Papagena (about 8m), discovered only in 1901.
In September-October 1960, the Mount Palomar Observatory in the USA systematically photographed a small region of the sky, 8×12 degrees in size, located near the vernal equinox. In two months, about 2200 asteroids were photographed up to 20m, and for 1811 of them it was possible to determine the orbits, although not very accurate.
It is believed that the total number of asteroids moving in the ring, from the largest (1 Ceres, with a diameter of about 1000 km) up to bodies with a diameter of 1 km, reaches 1 million.
The number of asteroids grows rapidly as their size decreases. In the range from 1 to 100 km, the total number of bodies whose diameter exceeds D is inversely proportional to the square of the diameter: N~D-2.
It is precisely this size distribution that is expected in fragments of fragmented bodies, and, apparently, the fragmentation of asteroids in mutual collisions has long and completely veiled the distribution that was in young, barely managed to form in the protoplanetary cloud of primary, small-sized bodies called planetesimals.
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