Recently, some strange behavior of two space rocks has spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope. After the finding astronomers are trying it confirm that is it an asteroid, comet or both? As per the images collected by the Hubble a strange binary asteroid performing double-duty as a comet. This type of incident have never seen by the scientists.
Previously, an asteroid named 300163 (2006 VW139) was discovered by the astronomical survey Spacewatch in 2006. In 2011, some activity coming from the object detected by astronomers using the Pan-STARRS telescope. After that, it was designated as a comet 288P. Now after this incident the thing have changed. As the object made a closet approach to the sun in 2016, the activity was observed by a German-led team of scientists in September 2016. They used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to observe the activity and also said that, that object is not one but two asteroids proving that it is a binary system.
As per the latest observation, size and mass of the two objects are same. At a distance of 60 miles, they are orbiting each other. But the thing is that these two asteroids have a bright halo of ejected material, and together they are producing a single long tail of dust. These two asteroids also considered originally came from the asteroid belt. As per the information, water ice can only exist for billions of years if the thick dust cover protects it. 288P (binary asteroids) sheds water while approaching the sun. That has made clear that the dust layer is lost. Increase in solar heating has given a strong indication of the Sublimation of water ice. This creates the tail of the comets, informed Jessica Agarwal, lead author, and scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Germany.
The first breakup of 288P had happened 5000 years ago. And it is expected that two asteroids may have been traveled further by sublimation torques. The study and analysis of origin and evolution of main belts comet asteroids which are orbiting between Mars and Jupiter showing activities similar to comet will help to understand the formation and evolution of the solar system, mentioned in the European Space Agency’s Hubble Space Telescope page. There are many questions yet to be answered. But this asteroid can help in answering one question, i.e., how water came to Earth. There is only a few 288P present in the universe, and for now, they are the important system for future studies. This finding will now challenge scientists to search more binary asteroids. So that more mystery regarding the universe can be revealed in future.