An Asteroid with Six Tails?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,270
    Astronomers using the Hubble Telescope have identified asteroid P2013 P5, which has six tails.

    Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have witnessed an asteroid with six comet-like tails of dust.  Named P2013 P5, the asteroid resembles a rotating lawn sprinkler with how the dust radiates from it.  Located in the Solar System’s asteroid belt, its unusual appearance has astronomers a little puzzled.  “It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid,” they said.  The team is guessing that the tails are a result of the space rock’s rotation rate increase to the point where the surface has started breaking apart.  They are estimating that 100 to 1,000 tons of dust has been lost from the rock so far.  One astronomer said “this is just an amazing object to us, and amost certainly the first of many more to come.”