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Name: thomas d burnes
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Date: 1993 - 1999

Are meteors magnetic? Are asteroids Magnetic?

I was surprised to find out that the answer to both these questions is sometimes yes. A Sky and Telescope article from last July says "certain meteorites, particularly irons, stony-irons, and some ordinary chordates, can be distinctly magnetized." (A chondrite is a type of meteorite that contains littl e BB-sized pieces of glassy material.) That same article says that at least one asteroid appears to be magnetized. When the Galileo spacecraft flew past the asteroid named Gaspra in October 1991 it detected a magnetic field around the asteroid. It is now beli eved that this field is due to magnetized solid metal in Gaspra (Gaspra is too small to have a molten core, which is what gives the Earth its field). It is not known how Gaspra became magnetized. And if one asteroid is magnetic, surely other asteroids are, too.


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