Friday, September 22, 2017


Article Written By: Kyle Tam


 Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have discovered a binary asteroid that's also a comet. 2006 VW139 is a celestial object made up of a pair of equal-sized lumps that orbit one another at a distance of less than 100 kilometres (60 miles).
 The binary object was first discovered back in 2006, however at the time, scientists had thought it was like any other comet. In 2012, astronomers began to realize that this thing was actually an asteroid with comet-like characteristics (e.g. streaming tail). This recent discovery of two bodies has only added to the elusiveness of this comet.
 As the binary system made its closest approach to the Sun last September, NASA utilized Hubble's optics to capture clearer images of its nucleus and tail, confirming how out of place it is. "We detected strong indications for the sublimation of water ice due to the increased solar heating – similar to how the tail of a comet is created," said team leader Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany.
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