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The Hubble Telescope observes asteroid disintegration.

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posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 06:28 PM
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Wow! Never seen anything like this before. www.nasa.gov...


This series of Hubble Space Telescope images reveals the breakup of an asteroid over a period of several months starting in late 2013. The largest fragments are up to 180 meters (200 yards) in radius.

Remember the asteroid with "tails" like a comet's? It was proposed that the asteroid's increasing spin due to the light pressure from the Sun produced enough centrifugal force to dislodge dust off its surface. This time, it looks like this particular asteroid broke into pieces due to the same effect:

It is unlikely the asteroid is disintegrating because of a collision with another asteroid, which would have been instantaneous and violent by comparison to what has been observed. Debris from such a high-velocity smashup would also be expected to travel much faster than observed. Nor is the asteroid coming unglued due to the pressure of interior ices warming and vaporizing.

This leaves a scenario in which the asteroid is disintegrating due to a subtle effect of sunlight, which causes the rotation rate of the asteroid to gradually increase. Eventually, its component pieces -- like grapes on a stem -- succumb to centrifugal force and gently pull apart. The possibility of disruption in this manner has been discussed by scientists for several years, but never reliably observed.

For this scenario to occur, P/2013 R3 must have a weak, fractured interior -- probably as the result of numerous non-destructive collisions with other asteroids. Most small asteroids are thought to have been severely damaged in this way. P/2013 R3 is likely the byproduct of just such a collision sometime in the last billion years.


I would also venture a guess that this asteroid was a loose "rubble pile", a collection of rocks and dust only very loosely held by weak gravity, and the ever-increasing spin was enough to cause its disintegration.
edit on 6-3-2014 by wildespace because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 06:51 PM
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..............or giant lasers.

(Cue Doctor Evil)

S&F
edit on 6-3-2014 by CaptainBeno because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 07:19 PM
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CaptainBeno
..............or giant lasers.

(Cue Doctor Evil)

S&F

That may not be as silly as some might think



Does anyone know the distance between the (now) seperate parts? That might give a clue as to what caused it to come apart.



posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by wildespace
 


Yea the one yesterday really close. Get ready the next three months gonna be crazy. The nasa of the world not saying much but we are going through a debris field. Lots of rocks going to be coming, could be, could be, bad... Doom porn material lol.

Look, great Italian site, universal telescope, sorry on tablet don't have link, but it shows these things coming in real time. It is awesome.

The Bot



posted on Mar, 6 2014 @ 09:25 PM
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reply to post by wildespace
 


Outstanding!! Thanks for the view!

A shotgun blast traversing the void looking for a target…

any inkling its projected path?



posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 05:13 AM
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intrptr
reply to post by wildespace
 


Outstanding!! Thanks for the view!

A shotgun blast traversing the void looking for a target…

any inkling its projected path?


It's a main-belt asteroid, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, so it doesn't come anywhere near Earth. The pieces are drifting apart very very slowly, at about 1 mph.



posted on Mar, 7 2014 @ 11:17 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 



The asteroid's remnant debris, weighing about 200,000 tons, will in the future provide a rich source of meteoroids. Most will eventually plunge into the sun, but a small fraction of the debris may one day blaze across our skies as meteors.

Hmmm, can't wait.

Interesting theories about reasons for break up. Thanks again.

regards,

intrptr



posted on Apr, 5 2014 @ 07:15 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 


A really interesting story and pictures, one of the rare "First times seen in space" for something so 'mundane' as an asteroid. Flags, stars, and geese to you.



posted on Sep, 25 2015 @ 07:23 PM
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Over a year later..

was this ever explained?




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