Discovery of a Basaltic Asteroid in the Outer Main Belt

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Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 2033-2035
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.2033

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Visible and near-infrared spectroscopic observations of the asteroid 1459 Magnya indicate that it has a basaltic surface. Magnya is at 3.15 astronomical units (AU) from the sun and has no known dynamical link to any family, to any nearby large asteroid, or to asteroid 4 Vesta at 2.36 AU, which is the only other known large basaltic asteroid. We show that the region of the belt around Magnya is densely filled by mean-motion resonances, generating slow orbital diffusion processes and providing a potential mechanism for removing other basaltic fragments that may have been created on the same parent body as Magnya. Magnya may represent a rare surviving fragment from a larger, differentiated planetesimal that was disrupted long ago.

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