A known alien body is suddenly behaving differently than expected – and researchers are amazed.
Tuscon – Since the object was discovered in 2005 in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, it has been confused with an asteroid. Usually these are cosmic rocks that do not have a tail – unlike comets. They are described as “dirty snowballs” because they are made of dust and loose rock that are held together by ice. When a comet approaches the Sun, the ice evaporates – a characteristic gaseous tail of comets is formed.
Asteroid or Comet: The Mystery of the Cosmic Hermaphrodite
So asteroids and comets are completely different astronomical types. But researchers have now discovered that the old friend doesn’t want to fall into either category — or, as a “cosmic hybrid,” in both. Because the celestial body explodes and forms a tail. This unexpected activity is caused by shifting icy material, as scientists explained via (248370) 2005 QN173 – the name of the asteroid that reflects the history of the discovery.
This turns the asteroid into a so-called “main belt comet,” as Henry Hsiehvo explainsM Planetary Science Institute (PSI) * in Tucson, Arizona, in a study in Astrophysical Journal Letters. “It is one of only about 20 objects that are currently confirmed or suspected to be in the main belt,” says the researcher. Some have only been spotted in an active phase. Celestial Body (248370) 2005 QN137 But already many times.
An asteroid flew past the Earth
The cosmic hermaphrodite asteroid (248370) 2005 QN137 isn’t the only asteroid that researchers are watching closely. On March 21, asteroid 2001 FO32* blasted across Earth – at a safe distance of 2 million km. Its speed was exceptionally high at just under 125,000 kilometers per hour. The reason: its elliptical orbit only recently brought it very close to the sun. The asteroid was thrown away and accelerated aggressively. *Mercur.de is a show of IPPEN.MEDIA