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Asteroid 596 Scheila sprouts a strange-looking double tail

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posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:42 PM
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On December 11th, main belt asteroid 596 Scheila was observed to have a tail. This was first described as a 'spiral'. A couple of pictures made it look to me like half of a yin-yang symbol. Some better photographs now available. To my eye the tail now looks like a very elongated crescent. The body of the asteroid is within the thickest part of the crescent. The pointed tips of the crescent trail out behind it, giving the effect of two widely separated tails connected by a curved bar. It is speculated that either a collision with another space rock or the sublimation of ices on the asteroid caused the tail to appear. The object has now attracted considerable interest. I predict that more pictures and information about this phenomenon will be available in coming days. Correct link for interesting blog, with photos, supplied in following posts.
edit on 12-12-2010 by Ross 54 because: removed broken link, added search term for google access.

edit on 12-12-2010 by Ross 54 because: removed erroneous report about broken link

edit on 12-12-2010 by Ross 54 because: added message about correct link




posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:45 PM
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reply to post by Ross 54
 


Your blog was removed...

Strange.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:55 PM
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Yes, the link seems to be broken now. I don't understand this, as it is quite new. You can still access the site by googling: 'what's up with scheila 596'.



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 05:57 PM
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The Guys Blog Here

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edit on 12-12-2010 by SaturnFX because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:01 PM
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aartscope.blogspot.com...

Malformed url? missing a "-"



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:03 PM
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Thank you for sharing that, Saturn FX. The link you provided seems to be working fine. Ross



posted on Dec, 12 2010 @ 06:10 PM
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Thanks, catlantis, you spotted my error. I omitted the dash between 'Scheila' and '596'. I didn't catch that, I guess because asteroid names don't normally have such a dash in them. Ross



posted on Dec, 13 2010 @ 02:54 PM
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Based on 596 Scheila's current distance from the Sun -- 2.9 Astronomical Units or about 270 million miles, I surmise that this is not, as is currently being suggested, one of a rare class of objects called main-belt comets. It is currently too far from the Sun for ices to be turning to gas, and so, throwing off a tail. That occurs within the so-called 'snow line' at about 2.7 AU or ~250 million miles, where there is enough heat from the Sun to cause sublimation of ices. Ross



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 08:47 PM
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A correction for the current distance from the Sun of asteroid 596 Scheila . As of Tuesday, December 14th, it is about 289 million miles from the Sun. This makes it even more untenable than I previously assumed that it is an asteroid/comet hybrid object, or main belt comet. It is simply too far from the Sun for any ices it has to be turning to vapor, and making the observed tail. Unless we assume that another asteroid collided with 596 Scheila, throwing out a cloud of debris, we have no known natural explanation for what is being observed. Ross



posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 09:03 PM
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Another blog: Remanzacco blog. Seems they're going with the notion that this is indeed a main belt comet.



posted on Dec, 15 2010 @ 07:29 PM
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We are now getting a little better sense of when 596 Scheila began its unusual display. Photos as late as November 11th show a normal-looking asteroid; merely a point of light. By December 3rd some brightening, and a defuse surround of light were shown. The first report to indicate realization that anything unusual was happening was made on the 11th. It appears that whatever is happening began at least 12 days ago, and possibly as long as 34 days ago. Ross
edit on 15-12-2010 by Ross 54 because: added information



posted on Dec, 16 2010 @ 09:05 PM
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The picture that now heads up the article on asteroid 596 Scheila at Wikipedia is quite interesting. Besides the bright body of the asteroid proper, there is a roundish, fairly compact area of brighter material within the hazy tail. It is quite conspicuous, and fairly near the asteroid itself. No explanation is given for what could be causing this. Ross



posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 08:19 PM
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Asteroid 596 Scheila is about 70 miles in diameter, fairly large as asteroids go. I think the comet/asteroid hybrid explanation is still being taken as seriously as it is, despite the serious problems with it, because it its realized that a collision involving an asteroid as large as this is very unlikely. Out of thousands upon thousands of asteroids that might have experienced an impact, 596 Scheila is the 167th largest. The odds are simply against it. Small asteroids are far, far more common, and thus much likelier to be be involved in a collision. Ross



posted on Dec, 17 2010 @ 09:04 PM
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There is a story about it and a picture at
www.spaceweather.com...



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