Hubble telescope spots two asteroids orbiting each other between Mars and Jupiter
New York : In asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the astronomers have located two asteroids orbiting each other with characterstics of comets - the bright coma and a long tail.
The findings have been published in Science journal 'Nature' on Wednesday.
"This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet," website 'Science Daily' reported.
"In September 2016, just before the asteroid 288P made its closest approach to the Sun, it was close enough to Earth to allow astronomers a detailed look at it using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The images of 288P, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, revealed that it was actually not a single object, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of about 100 km. That discovery was in itself an important find; because they orbit each other, the masses of the objects in such systems can be measured," the website said.
"We detected strong indications of the sublimation of water ice due to the increased solar heating -- similar to how the tail of a comet is created," said Jessica Agarwal of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany.