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Astro Bob

Mystery At Gault — Disintegration Or Asteroid Merger?

29 Mar 2019, 17:04 UTC
Mystery At Gault — Disintegration Or Asteroid Merger? NASA

A couple weeks ago I shared some amazing photos of the tail-sprouting asteroid 6478 Gault. A small object 2.5 to 5.5 miles (4-9 km) across, Gault grew comet-like tails of debris stretching hundreds of thousands of miles into space. At the time the cause appeared to be a collision with another asteroid, but new observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and large ground telescopes suggest that Gault is disintegrating through process called YORP torque.

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