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fake_comet_asteroidOften in space asteroids collide with each other and astronomers found something mysterious about such collisions in January this year when they saw an unknown comet giving rise to doubts that asteroid collisions might result in new comets. Astronomers found that the comet shape formed lacked its characteristic head and curved tail. It was discovered between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

The object was discovered from the LINEAR robotic telescope survey which searches for near-Earth asteroids. Rosetta satellite which was an ESA mission was doing a flyby which did follow up observations after astronomers got curious about it. Nature published two letters which provided details of the observation which suggest that the comet was from an asteroid collision with another.

Both papers that the asteroid had a debris tail of millimeter- to centimeter-sized particles seemed consistent of two asteroids smashing into each other. However skeptics argue that it cannot be a comet. Comets are small objects which are collections of dust, rock and ice. When comets are far from the sun, they remain in a calm icy state; when they approach the sun, they are so unstable that they begin to emit tails of vaporized gas and dust due to interaction with the Sun’s radiation and solar winds. If this object were a comet if would have evaporated long ago because of its proximity with Sun.

You can read more here.

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