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Astronomers have discovered a new active asteroid having a comet-like tail in the main asteroid belt of our solar system between Mars and Jupiter.
The asteroid, dubbed as 62412, has been spotted in the Hygiea family of asteroids in our solar system. The scientists say this would be the first comet-like object to have been seen in this asteroid family.
The unexpected tail on the asteroid ‘62412’ has discovered by researchers Chadwick Trujillo and Scott Sheppard, both from the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Talking about the discovery, Sheppard said, “Until about 10 years ago, it was very obvious to know about a comet, but now it’s all changing as we realize that not all of these celestial objects show activity all of the time.”
It was previously believed that the asteroids were mostly unchanging celestial objects. But with the advancement of science and technology, their proper observation also improved which allowed the scientists to discover strange objects associate with the asteroid like commas and tails.
According to the research team, 62412 has a very fast rotation that hold the potential to probably shift material around its surface, leading to the formation of comet-like appearance.
Scientists said that the strange tail attached to the asteroid may be formed directly from the ejected material from the fast rotating nucleus. Moreover, it can also be created from the ice within the asteroid after subliming into water vapor when exposed.