Tag Archives: Pan-STARRS

Six Tails of An Asteroid

Hubble P5 Image
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (UCLA)
P/2013 P5, the six-tailed asteroid.

Astronomers have discovered an asteroid with not one, but six streaming tails. This has never been seen before, and intrigued scientists are trying to figure out why this one is so special.

Most asteroids only appear as a single modest point of light, and they’re not even supposed to have tails. That luxury is usually reserved for icy comets who come too close to the sun. But this six-tailed asteroid, dubbed P/2013 P5 (P5 for short), has so many tails that it looks more like a badminton birdie. “We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” said lead investigator David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles. Continue reading Six Tails of An Asteroid