technology-news

Asteroid spouting six comet-like tails found in Mars-Jupiter asteroid belt

Washington, Nov 8 : Astronomers have found a "weird and freakish object", resembling a rotating lawn sprinkler, in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.


The finding has left them scratching their heads and searching for an explanation for the strange asteroid's out-of-this-world appearance.

Normal asteroids appear simply as tiny points of light. This bizarre asteroid has six comet-like tails of dust radiating from it like spokes on a wheel.

"It's hard to believe we're looking at an asteroid," lead investigator David Jewitt, a professor in the UCLA Department of Earth and Space Sciences and the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy, said.

"We were dumbfounded when we saw it. Amazingly, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust," he said.

One interpretation is that the asteroid's rotation rate increased to the point where its surface started flying apart, ejecting dust in episodic eruptions, starting last spring.

The team has ruled out a recent asteroid impact scenario because a large quantity of dust would have been blasted into space all at once.

This object, designated P/2013 P5, has ejected dust for at least five months, Jewitt said.

The findings are published online in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

--ANI (Posted on 08-11-2013)

technology-news headlines

New groundbreaking technique may help cure diseases by 'editing' DNA

Ancient Antarctica was as warm as today's California coast

Domesticated chili pepper originated in Central-east Mexico

Neanderthals carried more copies of potentially detrimental mutations

'Upside-down planet' reveals new method for studying binary star systems

Learn why homo sapiens survived when others could not

New material prevents plastic from ageing

Know if you are an app addict

Animals with bigger brain size more intelligent

Now, a detector to distinguish 'sour' oil from 'sweet'

UV lamp of the future is here

Shrimp-inspired material to make airplanes stronger

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

Comments

Your e-mail:


Your Full Name:


Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box

Message:

Back to Top