Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First evidence of asteroid collision spotted by Hubble

I wouldn't call Harry Stamper just yet, but NASA is reporting that the first photos of an apparent collision between two asteroids have been taken by the Hubble space telescope. Wired has the story:
If it’s confirmed by further observations, it would be the first time that scientists have detected the interplanetary collision between objects in the asteroid belt, though they believe that such occurrences are common.
The complex structure of the debris is what makes astronomers think they may be seeing something new around the sun. The main nucleus of the object, P/2010 A2, is actually located outside its dust halo, something that’s never been seen in a comet-like object before.
“If this interpretation is correct, two small and previously unknown asteroids recently collided, creating a shower of debris that is being swept back into a tail from the collision site by the pressure of sunlight,” Jewitt said.

1 comment:

Rognar said...

Man, that totally looks like a Centauri cruiser going down.