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Strange Asteroid With Six Tails Spotted

Strange News From The Universe

(Image Credit: NASA/ESA)

Astronomers have spotted an asteroid which has six tails trailing behind it, never before seen, and right in our asteroid belt.

Using the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope located at the summit of Maui’s Haleakala volcano in Hawaii, scientists first detected the strange phenomenon back in August. They had noted it seemed to look fuzzier than most normal asteroids, usually only appearing as a small dot of light. Once the Hubble Telescope was used to view the asteroid in more detail, they had noticed six tails, something unprecedented.

“We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” researcher David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles said in a statement from NASA. “Even more amazing, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust. That also caught us by surprise. It’s hard to believe we’re looking at an asteroid.”

What’s even more amazing is that in the 13 days between observations, the asteroid seems to have spun around – something that is also not quite common. Researchers believe that the tails did not form all at the one time, rather in spurts, which leads them to believe that its strange attributes did not form from an impact with another asteroid.

Check out the entire article here at LiveScience.