Home > Asteroid, Ephemeris Program, NASA > 03/13/2014 – Ephemeris – An asteroid self destructs

03/13/2014 – Ephemeris – An asteroid self destructs

March 13, 2014

Ephemeris for Thursday, March 13th.  The sun will rise at 7:58.  It’ll be up for 11 hours and 47 minutes, setting at 7:46.   The moon, 3 days before full, will set at 6:40 tomorrow morning.

The solar system is getting weirder and weirder.  Last week came the announcement from the Hubble Space Telescope folks, that they have been watching an asteroid in the main asteroid belt falling apart.  The object was picked up last year by two sky survey groups and communicated to the Keck Telescope  and Hubble telescope folks for further study.  Both found that it was an asteroid slowly breaking up into smaller pieces, and watched it over several months breaking into smaller and smaller pieces.  It’s thought that this asteroid is or was a rubble pile and the pressure of sunlight caused it to rotate fast enough to break it apart.  The speeds of the dispersing particles is a mere earthly walking speed, ruling out a collision.

Addendum

P/2013 R3

Four images of an asteroid breaking up over 3 months. The largest piece is perhaps the size of 4 football fields. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA).

Click here for the NASA page with more information.

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