Looking at the identity cards of eight asteroids in our Solar System

This video shows the “identity cards” of eight objects in the asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter. The “cards” show the objects’ size, mass, density and albedo. The last property is the fraction of incoming light that a body reflects: an object with an albedo of 0 absorbs the light completely and looks black, while one with an albedo equal to 1 reflects it completely and shines brightly.

The images have been captured with the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope as part of a programme that surveyed 42 of the largest asteroids in our Solar System. This animation highlights some of the most extreme objects in the sample: Urania and Ausonia, the smallest; Lamberta and Sylvia, the least dense; Kalliope and Psyche, the densest bodies; and Vesta and Ceres, the largest and most massive.


ESO/L. Calçada/Vernazza et al./MISTRAL algorithm (ONERA/CNRS)

About the Video

Release date:12 October 2021, 14:00
Related releases:eso2114
Duration:50 s
Frame rate:25 fps

About the Object

Type:Solar System : Interplanetary Body : Asteroid
Category:Solar System

Ultra HD (info)



Video Podcast
5.6 MB

For Broadcasters