Hubble identifies unique binary asteroid having features similar to comets

Hubble Telescope of NASA spotted an unusual and unique pair of celestial asteroid having comet-like features. Like a comet, these asteroids are also made up of halo material known as coma and a tail stretching outwards known as dust.

Initially, astronomers assumed it was a single object but according to the photographs captured by Hubble telescope, these are actually two different objects with same size and mass revolving around each other. Hence, these asteroids are called as binary asteroids. After breakage, these two asteroids were named as 288P and 300163.

Both the asteroid bodies are located at a distance of 95 kilometers from each other. Previously this object was named as Asteroid 300163 (2006 VW139). It was a joint study of Pan-STARRS and Spacewatch. Spacewatch initially spotted the asteroid in 2006 and later in 2011, it was closely studied by PanSTARRS.

PanSTARRS was the first agency to give it a title of the comet. According to Dr. Jessica Agarwal, we spotted some traces of water due to heavy temperature and the lengthy process of creation of comet’s tail. Asteroid 300163 (2006 VW139) also features other qualities of a comet that includes high eccentric orbit, wide separation, and equal component size.

These features make Asteroid 300163 (2006 VW139) stand different from all other. Scientists are trying to find the source and fruition of initial formation of our solar system. The main belt- comets might help to understand the origin of water on the bone-dry surface of the planet.

“The original asteroid rotated with such a high speed that resulted into its splitting and gave out two comet-like asteroids which scientist named as 288P and 300163”, said Dr. Jessica. “Still, more hypothetical and observational research has to be carried out since there are many other celestial bodies having similar structures and features”, she further added.