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Astronomers spot asteroid with multiple comet-like tails
Posted: Fri, Nov 8, 2013, 7:30 AM ET (1230 GMT)
Asteroid P/2013 P5 with six tails (STScI) Astronomers reported Thursday that they have spotted an object in the main asteroid belt that has six comet-like tails spouting from it, evidence that the asteroid may be breaking apart. The object, originally designated as a comet, P/2013 P5, when it was discovered in August by a groundbased telescope, was observed by Hubble in September. Those images showed six distinct tails extending from the object. Astronomers believe those tails were created by distinct dust ejection events between April and September. Those dust tails may be the result of the comet spinning up from solar radiation pressure to the point where its own gravity can no longer hold the object together.
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