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Post Info TOPIC: Comet P/2010 A2 (LINEAR)


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'Comet' turns out to be debris from asteroid collision, something not seen before

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed a mysterious X-shaped debris pattern and trailing streamers of dust that suggest a head-on collision between two asteroids. Astronomers have long thought the asteroid belt is being ground down through collisions, but such a smashup has never been seen before, a NASA news release says.
The comet-like object imaged by Hubble, called P/2010 A2, was first discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program sky survey on Jan. 6. New Hubble images taken on Jan. 25 and 29 show a complex X-pattern of filamentary structures near the nucleus.

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Orbital elements:
P/2010 A2 (LINEAR)
Epoch 2009 Nov. 25.0 TT = JDT 2455160.5
T 2009 Dec. 5.16956 TT MPC
q 2.0070708 (2000.0) P Q
n 0.28417713 Peri. 133.45138 -0.06638086 -0.99606756
a 2.2912719 Node 320.24233 +0.88692237 -0.03196133
e 0.1240364 Incl. 5.26420 +0.45712393 -0.08263099
P 3.47
From 83 observations 2010 Jan. 6-Feb. 1

MPEC 2010 - C09


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hs-2010-07-c-web.jpg
Credit NASA


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Astronomers have found a comet-like object they believe was created by the collision of two asteroids, possible siblings of the rogue rock blamed for killing the dinosaurs millions of years ago.
The object, known as P/2010 A2, was circling about 144 million km from Earth in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter when it was spotted last week by the Hubble Space Telescope.

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The impact left behind a curious X-shaped debris pattern that is unlike any other image astronomers have seen before. Scientists are guessing the collision happened at speeds over 11,000 miles per hour, which is what scientists believe the average speed of asteroid collisions are.
It seems that only one asteroid, named P/2010 A2, survived the impact and is seen in the image glowing just outside of the X-debris pattern. It is assumed that the other asteroid disintegrated fully.

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Something awfully curious is happening 100 million miles from Earth in the asteroid belt. There's a newly discovered object that superficially looks like a comet but lives among the asteroids. The distinction? Comets swoop along elliptical orbits close in to the Sun and grow long gaseous and dusty tails, as ices near the surface turn into vapor and release dust. But asteroids are mostly in circular orbits in the asteroid belt and are not normally expected to be "volatile."
The mystery object was discovered on January 6, 2010, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) sky survey. The object appears so unusual in ground-based telescopic images that discretionary time on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was used to take a close-up look. The observations show a bizarre X-pattern of filamentary structures near the point-like nucleus of the object and trailing streamers of dust. This complex structure suggests the object is not a comet but instead the product of a head-on collision between two asteroids travelling five times faster than a rifle bullet. Astronomers have long thought that the asteroid belt is being ground down through collisions, but such a smashup has never before been seen.

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Orbital elements:
P/2010 A2 (LINEAR)
Epoch 2009 Nov. 25.0 TT = JDT 2455160.5
T 2009 Dec. 4.22498 TT MPC
q 2.0119287 (2000.0) P Q
n 0.28362279 Peri. 133.28092 -0.06122338 -0.99636911
a 2.2942565 Node 320.11483 +0.88696767 -0.02712539
e 0.1230585 Incl. 5.29376 +0.45775546 -0.08070192
P 3.48

MPEC 2010 - B50


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A curious, comet-like object recently found in pictures from a ground-based telescope might actually be fallout from a high-speed asteroid collision, planetary scientists report.
If these suspicions are confirmed, the object would represent the first time astronomers have witnessed the immediate aftermath of such a cosmic smashup.
Dubbed P/2010 A2 (LINEAR), the fuzzy, tailed mystery object is about 210,000 kilometres to 305,000 kilometres long, stretching across part of our solar system's main asteroid belt.

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Astronomers Busy Witnessing "Remarkable" Collision of Two Asteroids

Astronomers are currently busy watching what they say is a "remarkable" collision which is happening between two asteroids far away and deep into space. It these experts are right, this is the first time that a high-speed crash between huge space rocks has ever been witnessed.
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Orbital elements:
P/2010 A2 (LINEAR)
T 2009 Dec. 3.267 TT MPC
q 2.00593 (2000.0) P Q
n 0.284276 Peri. 132.714 -0.054071 -0.996817
a 2.29074 Node 320.272 +0.887265 -0.021048
e 0.12433 Incl. 5.259 +0.458079 -0.076894
P 3.47
From 62 observations 2010 Jan. 6-19.

MPEC 2010 - B21


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