What caused the asteroid to break up?
Scientists do not think the asteroid was destroyed in a collision with another object because the way it is breaking apart. They also think it is unlikely the asteroid fell to pieces due to pressure of interior ice warming. Instead, they said the break-up was probably the result of the effect of sunlight over many years causing the asteroid to spin until it became unstable and ruptured. This phenomenon, known as the YORP effect, has been debated by scientists, but never previously observed. Daily Mail Read More>>>
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid, which has fragmented into as many as ten smaller pieces. Although fragile comet nuclei have been seen to fall apart as they approach the Sun, nothing like the breakup of this asteroid, P/2013 R3, has ever been observed before in the asteroid belt. "This is a rock. Seeing it fall apart before our eyes is pretty amazing," said David Jewitt of UCLA, USA, who led the astronomical forensics investigation. The crumbling asteroid, designated P/2013 R3, was first noticed as an unusual, fuzzy-looking object on 15 September 2013 by the Catalina and Pan-STARRS sky surveys. Follow-up observations on 1 October with the Keck Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, revealed three co-moving bodies embedded in a dusty envelope that is nearly the diameter of Earth. "Keck showed us that this thing was worth looking at with Hubble,” Jewitt said. With its superior resolution, the space-based Hubble observations soon showed that there were really ten distinct objects, each with comet-like dust tails. The four largest rocky fragments are up to 200 metres in radius, about twice the length of a football pitch. The Hubble data showed that the fragments are drifting away from each other at a leisurely 1.5 kilometres per hour — slower than the speed of a strolling human. The asteroid began coming apart early last year, but the latest images show that pieces continue to emerge. "This is a really bizarre thing to observe — we've never seen anything like it before,” says co-author Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany. "The break-up could have many different causes, but the Hubble observations are detailed enough that we can actually pinpoint the process responsible.” ESA Read More>>>>
MARIA OF THE CROSS,
Victim of Jesus nee MELANIE CALVAT,
Shepherdess of La Salette
"I protest highly against a different text, which people may dare publish after my death. I protest once more against the very false statements of all those who dare say and write First that I embroidered the Secret; second, against those who state that the Queen Mother did not say to transmit the Secret to all her people." Melanie
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