Home > Asteroid, Ephemeris Program > 11/14/2013 – Ephemeris – An asteroid with 6 tails.

11/14/2013 – Ephemeris – An asteroid with 6 tails.

November 13, 2013

Ephemeris for Thursday, November 14th.  The sun will rise at 7:38.  It’ll be up for 9 hours and 37 minutes, setting at 5:15.   The moon, 3 days before full, will set at 5:31 tomorrow morning.

Ready for something weird in the sky?  Back in August the Pan-STARRS telescope on Mount Haleakala in Hawaii discovered an asteroid with 6 tails.  This was confirmed in September by the Hubble Telescope.  The tails weren’t directed away from the sun like cometary tails, bur were set off in a range of directions from the asteroid.  This was a main belt asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter.  It may be that the asteroid was in a collision some time ago which sent it spinning rapidly, so the speed of rotation at its equator is at or above the asteroid’s escape velocity, and dust migrating to the equator is flung off to make the tails.  Looks like the hunt for near earth asteroids is picking up some interesting objects.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.



Hubble Space Telescope images of Asteroid P/2013 P5. Hat tip to Universe Today.

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