Astronomers using the NASA Hubble Space Telescope have made an astonishing discovery of a never-before-seen celestial phenomenon. They observed a unique body in the asteroid belt, designated P/2013 P5, which displayed a set of six comet-like tails radiating from it. This peculiar asteroid was initially identified as an unusually fuzzy object by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) survey telescope in Hawaii.
The Hubble images taken on September 10, 2013, revealed multiple tails originating from the asteroid. Remarkably, when Hubble observed the asteroid again on September 23, the entire structure had undergone a dramatic transformation. It appeared as if the asteroid had rotated to a point where dust was being ejected from its surface and escaping into space, forming distinct, finger-like tails.
One plausible explanation for this phenomenon is that the asteroid’s rotation rate has significantly increased, causing dust to be expelled from its surface due to the gentle push of sunlight. The object, estimated to be no more than 1,400 feet in diameter, has been shedding dust for at least five months based on the analysis of the tail structure.
These astonishing observations, captured in visible-light, false-color images using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, provide unique insights into the dynamic and evolving nature of objects in our solar system.