A team of scientists will present scientific data about a newly discovered comet-like object within the Hygiea family of asteroids at the Division for Planetary Science at the American Astronomical Society, Tucson, USA between November 8th-14th.
Astronomers who discovered the active asteroid have named it the 62412, and it was found between Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt of our solar system. Being the first time such an object will be found within the asteroids of the Hygiea family, scientists are more fascinated by its comet-like tail.
Discovered by Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, Sheppard notes that “until about 10 years ago, it was very obvious to know about a comet, but now it’s all changing as we realise that not all of these celestial objects show activity all of the time.”
Asteroids are never known to change shapes in their celestial positions, but improved science and technology have enhanced their observation and helped astronomers take note of any physical changes to shapes, hence the observation that this particular asteroid 62412 has comma and tail.
However, the 62412 has been observed to rotate very fast and this might have been creating the blurry tail-like effects that researchers have observed as shifting material at its surface, that is, the comet-like shape. A school of thought think the attached tail might have been made from ice deposited within the asteroid which changes to water vapor when exposed to the atmosphere; and yet others think the tail may be part of the rotating nucleus that is ejected during its fast rotation.