Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Hubble telescope spots bizarre asteroid sporting comet-like tail
by Staff Writers
Indianapolis (UPI) Jun 4, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

The Hubble space telescope has revealed a bizarre asteroid, U.S. astronomers say -- one trailing a tail of dust more than 600,000 miles long.

The object found soaring through the asteroid belt was first thought to be a comet because of its long, well-formed tail, they said, but has been confirmed as a rare phenomenon dubbed an "active" asteroid.

Its odd, X-shaped trailing debris field could be evidence the object, known as Asteroid P/2010 A2, collided head-on with another asteroid at some point in its past, while another theory holds it's breaking itself apart due to an unsustainable spin.

"It's hard to pin it down," astronomer Jayadev Rajagopal, with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, told Discovery News.

"This one certainly looks like it's a collision," but there are a number of mechanisms that could explain its odd configuration, he said at the American Astronomical Society conference in Indianapolis this week

Only about 12 "active" asteroids have been observed to date, but A2 is in a class by itself, Rajagopal said.

"We are watching the death of an asteroid," he said. "This is the only one which is showing the event as it is happening."

How long A2 lasts -- it was discovered in January 2010 -- will depend on the size of its particles and how fast they are moving, he said.

"I expect it to hang around for quite a while."


Related Links
Asteroid and Comet Mission News, Science and Technology

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

New Images of Comet ISON Hurtling Toward the Sun
Hilo, HI (SPX) May 31, 2013
A new series of images from Gemini Observatory shows Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) racing toward an uncomfortably close rendezvous with the Sun. In late November the comet could present a stunning sight in the twilight sky and remain easily visible, or even brilliant, into early December of this year. The new Gemini time-sequence images, spanning early February through May 2013, show the comet's ... read more

NASA's GRAIL Mission Solves Mystery of Moon's Surface Gravity

Moon dust samples missing for 40 years found in Calif. warehouse

Unusual minerals in moon craters may have been delivered from space

Moon being pushed away from Earth faster than ever

Mars Curiosity Rover Provides Strong Evidence for Flowing Water

Ten Years At Mars: New Global Views Plot History Of The Red Planet

Flowing Water Transported Sand, Rocks Along Martian Streambed

Leicester Scientist Helps Discover Ancient Streambed On Mars

White House moves to curb 'patent trolls'

A certain level of stress is necessary

Northrop Grumman-Built Modular Space Vehicle Nears Completion of Manufacturing Phase

French government posts space counsellor in Bangalore

Shenzhou-10 spacecraft to be launched in mid-June

Sizing Up Shenzhou 10

Rollout for Shenzhou 10

Soft Pedal for Shenzhou 10

International trio takes shortcut to space station

Science and Maintenance for Station Crew, New Crew Members Prep for Launch

ESA Euronews: Living in space

Next destination: space

The Future of Space Launch

Rocket Engine Maker Proton-PM to Invest in New Products

Russia Launches European Telecoms Satellite

Ariane poised to launch first 20 ton payload into orbit

Rare Stellar Alignment Offers Opportunity To Hunt For Planets

In feat, telescope directly spots lightweight exoplanet

Scouting for Not-So-Distant Worlds

Lightest exoplanet imaged so far?

Atom by atom, bond by bond, a chemical reaction caught in the act

Dense hydrogen in a new light

Another American High Frontier First: 3-D Manufacturing in Space

Charred micro-bunny sculpture shows promise of new material for 3-D shaping

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement