Hubble spots six-tailed asteroid

Asteroid

Credit given to: NASA, ESA, D.Jewitt/UCLA

When astronomers first captured the image of this asteroid in August, they could only describe it as a fuzzy and strange looking object. It wasn’t until the Hubble captured a better photo on September 10 that they realized what it was they were looking at. Scientists were taken back by this asteroid that appears to have six comet-like tails trailing behind it.

Then, when the Hubble captured another image of the asteroid on September 23, astronomers were completely stumped. This time, as they viewed the image, it seemed as though the asteroid has completely turned around.

Scientists theorize that the asteroid’s rate of rotation must have changed drastically enough that it has begun to deteriorate the surface. According to NASA’s Press Release, Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Lindau, Germany, believes that the asteroid has gone through a series of events leading to dust-ejection. She has calculated the dates on which she believes these events to have occurred and believes that radiation from the sun is causing the dust to be trailed behind the asteroid.

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