Open main menu

Veritas (/ˈvɛrɪtəs/ VERR-i-təs; minor planet designation: 490 Veritas) is a carbonaceous Veritasian asteroid, which may have been involved in one of the more massive asteroid-asteroid collisions of the past 100 million years. It was discovered by German astronomer Max Wolf at Heidelberg Observatory on 3 September 1902.

490 Veritas
Discovered byMax Wolf
Discovery siteHeidelberg Obs.
Discovery date3 September 1902
MPC designation(490) Veritas
Pronunciation/ˈvɛrɪtəs/ VERR-i-təs
1902 JP
main-belt · (outer)
Orbital characteristics[2]
Epoch 31 July 2016 (JD 2457600.5)
Uncertainty parameter 0
Observation arc113.37 yr (41409 d)
Aphelion3.4715 AU (519.33 Gm)
Perihelion2.8719 AU (429.63 Gm)
3.1717 AU (474.48 Gm)
5.65 yr (2063.2 d)
0° 10m 28.164s / day
Earth MOID1.87147 AU (279.968 Gm)
Jupiter MOID1.98443 AU (296.867 Gm)
Physical characteristics
Dimensions110.96 ± 3.80 km[3]
115.55±5.5 km[2]
Mass(5.99 ± 2.23) × 1018 kg[3]
Mean density
8.37 ± 3.23 g/cm3[3]
7.930 h (0.3304 d)
8.53,[4] 8.32[2]



With an diameter of more than 100 kilometers, Veritas is the largest member and namesake of the Veritas family, a mid-sized asteroid family of carbonaceous asteroids in the outer main-belt, that formed recently approximately 8.5±0.5 million years ago.[1][5]:8,23 David Nesvorný of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder traced the orbits of these bodies back in time, and calculated that they formed in a collision of a body at least 150 km in diameter with a smaller asteroid. Veritas and Undina would have been the largest fragments of that collision which caused a "late Miocene dust shower". The family consists of more than a thousand known members including 1086 Nata, 2428 Kamenyar and 2934 Aristophanes.

Late Miocene dust showerEdit

Substantiating Nesvorný's estimate, Kenneth Farley et al. found evidence in sea-floor sediments of a fourfold increase in the amount of cosmic dust reaching Earth's surface, which began 8.2 million years ago and tapered off over the next million and a half years. This is one of the largest increases in dust deposits of the past 100 million years.[6]

The suspected Veritas collision would have been too far from Jupiter for the fragments to have been slung into a collision course with Earth. However, solar radiation would have caused the resulting dust to drift inward to Earth orbit over a time span consistent with the record of dust in the ocean sediment.

Today continuing collisions among Veritas-family asteroids are estimated to send five thousand tons of cosmic dust to Earth each year, 15% of the total.


  1. ^ a b "Small Bodies Data Ferret". Nesvorny HCM Asteroid Families V3.0. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Yeomans, Donald K., "490 Veritas", JPL Small-Body Database Browser, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, retrieved 9 May 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Carry, B. (December 2012), "Density of asteroids", Planetary and Space Science, 73, pp. 98–118, arXiv:1203.4336, Bibcode:2012P&SS...73...98C, doi:10.1016/j.pss.2012.03.009. See Table 1.
  4. ^ Warner, Brian D. (December 2007), "Initial Results of a Dedicated H-G Project", The Minor Planet Bulletin, 34, pp. 113–119, Bibcode:2007MPBu...34..113W.
  5. ^ Nesvorný, D.; Broz, M.; Carruba, V. (December 2014). "Identification and Dynamical Properties of Asteroid Families" (PDF). Asteroids IV: 297–321. arXiv:1502.01628. doi:10.2458/azu_uapress_9780816532131-ch016. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  6. ^ Farley, Kenneth A.; Vokrouhlický, David; Bottke, William F.; Nesvorný, David (January 2006). "A late Miocene dust shower from the break-up of an asteroid in the main belt" (PDF). Nature. 439 (7074): 295–297. Bibcode:2006Natur.439..295F. doi:10.1038/nature04391. Retrieved 4 September 2017.

External linksEdit