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Hubble sees asteroid spouting six comet-like tails

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posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 11:09 AM
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All Seeing Eye
Actually, I'm not. The "Scientists" already said there is no dust cloud around it, which means, there has been no impact.


But you did say there was "dust and gasses" around it... and how else could the rays of light that you speak of be visible? They would have to be reflecting off of something. I'm sorry if I'm misunderstanding you.


All Seeing Eye
If I'm not mistaken, the Sun is behind this thing, so it would be interesting how it could light up the side we are seeing, or at least one side of it. I need clarification on that.


Nope. When the pics were taken we were between it and the sun. Link.


All Seeing Eye
The nature of these "Beams" is rather odd, thin at the source, and wider further away. Though you would expect this pattern from a pressurized venting, but from 6 separate sources?


Yeah, most sources seem to say that there is no pressurized venting. And to me they look too straight to be caused by a high velocity stream from a vent.


All Seeing Eye
Another oddity is that these beams are rotating along with the object. You would think they would spiral away as the object turns, if they were dust /gas combination. Beams of light on the other hand, would rotate from the emitting source and keep there relative positions.


Are they doing that, though? They seem to change angles, yes, but according to the paper linked by Ross 54 this is because our perspective changed. If I read it correctly.

Still, if the so called beams are actually just clouds of dust, they really should rotate along with the nucleus.

Why wouldn't they? The particles just barely escaped the pull of the nucleus, moving at very slow speeds. They are basically going to orbit the nucleus until radiation dissipates them.

Yeah, I don't know. A combination of both I guess. Maybe someone could clarify on this?




posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 05:33 PM
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The escape velocity of P/2013 P5 is very low, about a quarter of a meter per second. A person could step off it at a slow walking pace and have more than enough speed to completely escape it's gravity. Supposing it threw off occasional bursts of dust, these could continue out into space in straight lines. The gravity of the object is too feeble to have much discernible effect on them.



posted on Nov, 13 2013 @ 07:09 AM
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reply to post by Ross 54
 




Supposing it threw off occasional bursts of dust, these could continue out into space in straight lines.

Straight lines until the solar wind blew them all in one direction.



posted on Nov, 13 2013 @ 09:25 AM
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In general, dust isn't much affected by the solar wind, which gives only a very weak push to things. The gas tails of comets point directly away from the Sun because they are moved by the solar wind. The dust tails, made of much heavier stuff, are usually found along the orbital path of a comet, due to the conservation of momentum. These two tails often differ somewhat in direction, and can be seen as separate tails. See paragraph 5 in the linked section of Wikipedia article Link
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edit on 13-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: added informative link

edit on 13-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: added explanatory phrase



posted on Nov, 13 2013 @ 04:55 PM
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We should, of course, expect to find new sorts of things as we explore space with ever-increasing acuity. It is the contention of the scientists that we have, in P/2013 P5, a single object that combines several sorts of improbable characteristics. All other active asteroids/main belt comets, which are rather rare in themselves, have been discovered for one of two reasons:
1.) They currently have ice, which turned directly to gas and gave off a hazy surround (coma), or tail, or both.
2.) They have very recently had a collision with another object in space, which threw out dust and/or gas.

We are told that P/2013 P5 fits into neither of these categories. It is a dry object of the inner asteroid belt, subject to heating for eons, so that any ice it might have contained has long ago sublimed directly to gas, and been lost.
It is also denied that this object has suffered a collision, mainly because the the dusty-appearing 'tails' don't contain enough debris to hint at such an event. Multiple small collisions, each producing one of the six tails, also seems too improbable to credit.
With these explanations ruled out, the scientists are forced to consider something even stranger. They suppose that the object is irregular in shape, and that one side is better able to intercept the very weak push of the solar wind than the other. If things are so arranged that this solar push adds to the existing spin of the asteroid, instead of countering it, the object will go on being spun up indefinitely, revolving faster and faster.
At some point, it is presumed, the object spun so rapidly, in about 2.2 to 2.3 hours, that it began to fling itself apart, by the action of centrifugal force.
Unfortunately, no significant changes in brightness were noted in the object, when the Hubble Space Telescope was trained on it. These changes are commonly used to reveal the rotation rate of asteroids. We do not currently know how fast the object is spinning. or even if it is doing so at all.
We are given two possible explanations for the failure to find any rotation-caused brightness variations in P/2013 P5.
1.) The object's axis of rotation was pointed directly at us on Sept. 10th and 23rd, the dates of the Hubble images. We saw the same face of the object at all times, hence no variances in brightness.
2. The object takes substantially longer than 40 minutes to rotate, limiting the amount of brightness variation seen by the Hubble in its longest possible observing sessions, of this same length of time.

A rather rare object in itself, an active asteroid/main belt comet, is also supposed to be doing something never observed before in any space object, spinning itself to pieces. In addition, it is proposed that it either just happens to align its spin axis with Earth, or it exists in a small window of rotation rates that is too slow to be readily detected, yet is fast enough to begin to disrupt its surface by centrifugal force. We seem to be piling improbability on top of improbability.

edit on 13-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: added explanatory phrase



posted on Nov, 13 2013 @ 06:55 PM
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Ross 54
We are given two possible explanations for the failure to find any rotation-caused brightness variations in P/2013 P5.
1.) The object's axis of rotation was pointed directly at us on Sept. 10th and 23rd, the dates of the Hubble images. We saw the same face of the object at all times, hence no variances in brightness.
2. The object takes substantially longer than 40 minutes to rotate, limiting the amount of brightness variation seen by the Hubble in its longest possible observing sessions, of this same length of time.

A rather rare object in itself, an active asteroid/main belt comet, is also supposed to be doing something never observed before in any space object, spinning itself to pieces. In addition, it is proposed that it either just happens to align its spin axis with Earth, or it exists in a small window of rotation rates that is too slow to be readily detected, yet is fast enough to begin to disrupt its surface by centrifugal force. We seem to be piling improbability on top of improbability.

edit on 13-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: added explanatory phrase


It certainly is a strange object, but I feel you might be exaggerating the improbability. If it is such a rare object, then of course something unusual is going on. There are so many asteroids, i'm sure a few of them are bound to "get lucky" and have this happen to them? Also, how big a difference in brightness is actually needed to spin it, and how precisely can Hubble detect the difference?

But I guess we do need more proof to draw any conclusions on this.



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 12:07 PM
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Brightness variations, if any, would presumably indicate the amount of light the object was reflecting from moment to moment. In asteroids, this usually translates to an object longer than it is wide. It spins, alternately presenting its narrow side, which reflects less light, and its broad side, which reflects more. Given all the many possible orientations of the object, its unlikely that it will be found in the single one that produces no light variations---with its axis of rotation pointing directly at the observer.
At any rate, the problem of P/2013 P5's missing light variations should soon be resolved. Its angle with respect to Earth is changing; growing larger all the time. If there is any variation to be found, it should soon be detectable, if it isn't already.

Since an object that is to be spun up by the pressure of the solar wind, and re-radiation of Solar heat must be somewhat asymmetrical in shape, there is a connection to brightness variations. I don't believe, though, there is any way of determining just how much brightness variation would be required of an object that is undergoing such spin up. There are too many other variables that enter into this.

Do I exaggerate the oddness of this object? Perhaps. Recall, though, that it was Dr. Jewitt, the discoverer of P/2013 P5, who referred to it as 'freakish', and stated that he almost couldn't believe he was looking at an asteroid.

There is something in the scientific method that resists the accumulation of too many exceptional factors with respect to a single phenomenon. Has a fairly rare object, in itself, an active asteroid/main belt comet, been spun up by the Sun's influence to the point of centrifugal disruption, something never before observed in any asteroid? Has this same object just happened to conceal its spin by pointing its axis of rotation directly at us, or by having a spin at just the right rate, so that it was too slow to detect, yet fast enough to disrupt its surface by centrifugal force? Could be, I suppose, but as as old song says: 'It ain't necessarily so!'

edit on 14-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure

edit on 14-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 01:25 PM
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Hubble Hangout - Hubble Observes Unusual Six Tails in Asteroid P/2013 P5 - coming up in about 2 hours with with Dr. David Jewitt from UCLA
Today, Thursday November 14, 2013 21:00 UTC / 3 PM CST
plus.google.com...

Please join us as we discuss this discovery with Dr. David Jewitt from UCLA, the team lead of the researchers who made the #Hubble observations, along with +Max Mutchler +Tony Darnell +Alberto Conti +Ian O'Neill and +Scott Lewis

In addition to your questions and comments, we'll discuss topics like:
* How and when was this asteroid first discovered?
* Does it pose a thread to Earth?
* What are these tails made of?
* How common are these jets in asteroids?
* How large is this asteroid?
* How does it compare to a comet in composition and density?

And anything else we can think of! Please RSVP to let us know you're attending and we'll look forward to seeing you there!


Here's a good opportunity to ask your questions!



posted on Nov, 14 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by wildespace
 

Great find.

Thanks!

Hopefully it will be transcribed for those of us otherwise busy at the time.

edit on 11/14/2013 by Chamberf=6 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 15 2013 @ 03:10 AM
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reply to post by Chamberf=6
 

Here it is uploaded in full: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGgRNWUFfZ0


Lots of interesting info there
Might post more thoughts after I watched it all.



posted on Nov, 15 2013 @ 03:24 AM
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Raise your hand if you think you can communicate with extra terrestrial life on the comet.

Put your hand down.

Raise your hand if you think there is extra terrestrial life on the comet.

Put your hand down.

Raise your hand if you wish there was extra terrestrial life on the comet.

Put your hand down.

Raise your hand if you think the government can communicate with extra terrestrial life on the comet.

Put your hand down.

Raise your other hand if you think there is extra terrestrial life on the comet.
For everyone who did not raise thier hand the first time, feel free to raise either hand.

Put your other hand up.

Keep them up.

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Follow directions next time.



posted on Nov, 15 2013 @ 11:13 AM
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Thank you, wildespace, for finding and alerting us about the Hubble Hangout presentation on P/2013 P5. I didn't catch it live, but watched it in full at the archives of the HH site. There was no mention of directly looking for brightness variations in the object, in order to determine its rate of spin. There was an interesting idea mentioned, about checking the movement of the tails over a short period of time, to learn the rotation rate.
The problem of ascertaining how fast P/2013 P5 spins could probably use a little more discussion. We're told that no brightness variations were turned up in observation sessions of 40 minutes duration. One explanation for this was that the period of rotation was substantially longer.
Very well, let us suppose it is 80 minutes. A forty minute sample should still allow us to see somewhere between 50 to 100 percent of the brightness range, depending where in the phase of the cycle the sample was placed. That amount of brightness variance should still, seemingly, be detectable. And if the period were 120 minutes, we should still be able to see to 38 to 75 percent of variation, again probably not so small an amount of change, that it should escape detection. Any rotation period substantially longer than this would be too slow to permit the centrifugal disruption that is supposed to be happening on the object.








edit on 15-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure, added qualifying word

edit on 15-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: added word to clarify meaning



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 11:10 AM
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I find, from the Space Telescope Science Institute, that new observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, of P/2013 P5 were made on Oct. 18th, and during the period Nov. 11--15th, just ended.
Suppose the Sept. 10th and 23rd orientations of the object were such that its axis of rotation just happened to be pointing our way, obscuring brightness variations indicative of its spin rate. This should no longer be the case for the newer observations, especially the latter one. We should soon, one hopes, be hearing at least tentative figures for the rotation rate of P/2013 P5.
This will be crucial in confirming or refuting the leading hypothesis of the object's behavior, centrifugal disruption. If this hypothesis is not supported, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to explain the behavior of this object in accord with our astrophysical knowledge.
edit on 16-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure

edit on 16-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: inserted qualifying phrase



posted on Nov, 16 2013 @ 11:58 AM
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reply to post by wildespace
 

Awesome.

Thank you.



posted on Nov, 17 2013 @ 10:45 AM
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We're told that the spinning up of an asteroid the size of P/2013 P5 from some typical slower value to the point where it will begin to fling itself apart should take roughly one million years. We're also told that this object is likely a fragment of a larger object that was destroyed in a collision about 200 million years ago, forming the Flora family of asteroids.
My question is this: Why did the object wait 199 million years, and only then begin to spin up in response to the Sun's influence? Or put another way: Why hadn't this object spun itself up to the point of centrifugal disruption, 199 million years ago, and long, long ago destroyed itself?
edit on 17-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: added words to clarify meaning



posted on Nov, 19 2013 @ 11:15 AM
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The activity of P/2013 P5, whatever this activity actually is, seems to be intensifying over time. Dr. Jessica Agarwal, working on the idea of dust tails, used computer simulations of how dust particles would disperse over time in space. She found that a good match could be made with the appearance of P/2013 P5, if bursts of dust were released from it on April 15th, July 18th & 24th, August 8th & 26th, and September 4th.
Please note that these dates are not evenly distributed. There are 94 days between the first and the second, and 6 days, 15 days, 16 days, & 11 days between second and third, third and forth, respectively, and so on.
There seems to be a change between April and July, with subsequent tails being released much more frequently.
We will have to wait and see if further observations, some of which have already occurred, but with the results apparently not yet disclosed, reveal continuing activity at this rate, or even a further increase in it.
edit on 19-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: corrected spelling



posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 02:45 PM
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Ross 54
My question is this: Why did the object wait 199 million years, and only then begin to spin up in response to the Sun's influence? Or put another way: Why hadn't this object spun itself up to the point of centrifugal disruption, 199 million years ago, and long, long ago destroyed itself?


Perhaps it did begin to spin 199 million years ago, but only recently reached critical rates? Or maybe there have been several collisions during this time-span? Could it even be that these objects go through periods of stability and instability?


Ross 54
There seems to be a change between April and July, with subsequent tails being released much more frequently.


Would we expect an object of irregular shape to launch dust evenly? There may be small, irregular shifts on the surface that occasionally result in big bursts of dust. Like an avalanche in the mountains.

I don't know guys, I'm not trying to be contrary here. Just playing devils advocate. You do bring up some good points and you do make me question this explanation.

Edit to clarify:

Ross 54, you mentioned that there was an increase in the activity. I agree that this could not be caused simply by the solar wind. Still, it think the number of bursts and the time-span they happened in is too small to draw any conclusions. It seems very chaotic.
edit on 22-11-2013 by Subnatural because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2013 @ 09:21 PM
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The rate at which the solar wind and re-radiation of heat from the Sun would speed up the spin of an object should be consistent and predictable over the long term. If it takes a million years, as we're told, between the time an object the size of P/2013 P5 begins to exist as a separate object, and the time it's spun up to the point of beginning to tear itself to pieces, it should have done so a very long time ago.

Even if we suppose it was subject to several different collisions in 200 million years time, and had to start the spinning up process over again, more or less from scratch, there should still have been several opportunities for it to do so, long before now.

The recent upturn in activity could conceivably be due to a certain geological formations on the object, all of similar structure and strength, that have recently become vulnerable to disruption, due to a slight increase in the object's spin rate.

I'm still hesitant about the whole scenario of the object beginning to spin itself to pieces. We don't yet know that the object is spinning fast enough to do this. If it turns out that it isn't, it's going to be very difficult for the astronomers to explain what's going on.
edit on 22-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: improved paragraph structure

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edit on 22-11-2013 by Ross 54 because: removed superfluous word.



posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 01:01 PM
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Checking with the Space Telescope Science Institute, I was able to confirm that the Hubble Telescope made observations of the mysterious six-tailed asteroid on October 18th, November 13th, December 8th, and December 31st.
I could not find any information to confirm that the object's rotation rate was high enough to justify the hypothesis that the tails were formed by the centrifugal disruption of material on its surface.

Viewing unprocessed images from various dates, I could see a conspicuous object with a single tail. Processing of the images may have made other, dimmer, tails visible, but such images were not made available for general viewing at the website.
edit on 4-1-2014 by Ross 54 because: added qualifying term



posted on Jan, 4 2014 @ 06:08 PM
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Ross 54
Checking with the Space Telescope Science Institute, I was able to confirm that the Hubble Telescope made observations of the mysterious six-tailed asteroid on October 18th, November 13th, December 8th, and December 31st.
I could not find any information to confirm that the object's rotation rate was high enough to justify the hypothesis that the tails were formed by the centrifugal disruption of material on its surface.


In all likelihood there is a very good natural explanation for what is being seen.

That said, here's some food for thought if that didn't turn out to be the case:

ArXiv: Extrasolar Asteroid Mining as Forensic Evidence for Extraterrestrial Intelligence -Duncan Forgan, Martin Elvis - International Journal of Astrobiology

From the abstract:


(Submitted on 28 Mar 2011)
The development of civilisations like ours into spacefaring, multi-planet entities requires significant raw materials to construct vehicles and habitats. Interplanetary debris, including asteroids and comets, may provide such a source of raw materials. In this article we present the hypothesis that extraterrestrial intelligences (ETIs) engaged in asteroid mining may be detectable from Earth.

Considering the detected disc of debris around Vega as a template, we explore the observational signatures of targeted asteroid mining (TAM), such as unexplained deficits in chemical species, changes in the size distribution of debris and other thermal signatures which may be detectable in the spectral energy distribution (SED) of a debris disc.
We find that individual observational signatures of asteroid mining can be explained by natural phenomena, and as such they cannot provide conclusive detections of ETIs.

But, it may be the case that several signatures appearing in the same system will prove harder to model without extraterrestrial involvement. Therefore signatures of TAM are not detections of ETI in their own right, but as part of "piggy-back" studies carried out in tandem with conventional debris disc research, they could provide a means of identifying unusual candidate systems for further study using other SETI techniques.


If this object fails all possible fits to natural phenomena perhaps we should look at the asteroid belt as possibly being mined by someone else. Asteroid search and characterization missions like the ones proposed/planned by Planetary Resources, Inc. might actually turn up interesting data about our own asteroid belt and any chemical deficiencies it may have as a result of past or current mining.

edit on 4-1-2014 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)



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