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Hubble snaps photo of 'Jupiter's Comet'

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#1 SNH

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Posted 28 February 2021 - 02:27 PM

My younger brother follows some part of NASA on Instagram and pointed this out to me late yesterday. Apparently, the HST recently took a photo of an icy object, called P/2019 LD2 (LD2), which was discovered in June 2019. Upon studying it, astronomers believe it "probably swung close to Jupiter about two years ago. The planet then gravitationally punted the wayward visitor to the Trojan asteroid group's co-orbital location, leading Jupiter by about 437 million miles."

 

They write, "The unexpected visitor belongs to a class of icy bodies found in space between Jupiter and Neptune. Called "Centaurs," they become active for the first time when heated as they approach the Sun, and dynamically transition into becoming more comet-like." So now that we are seeing outgassing activity on it, it is now being called a comet. I'm excited about it because they also write, "Computer simulations show that it will have another close encounter with Jupiter in about another two years. The hefty planet will boot the comet from the system, and it will continue its journey to the inner solar system." So this will be one to keep an eye on! Currently, it seems that it may be beyond the reach of backyard telescopes - thought I know that the brightest Trojan asteroids are not thanks to a Bob King S&T online article. Still need to see some of them myself...

 

I encourage everyone to read the full article article about this new object because it is quite fascinating!!

 

 

Scott


  • Dave Mitsky, okiestarman56, Knasal and 4 others like this

#2 jodemur

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Posted 01 March 2021 - 06:58 PM

Interesting stuff these Centaurs.

I just finished an article in this months Astronomy Magazine, by Alan Stern, about the Centaurs and an attempt to get funding for a fly-by discovery mission. Its a good read.

These objects and their history sounds very interesting to me. If we can get the JWT off the ground soon maybe we can get some closer-up views before the Centaurs mission.

I read the NASA release on that "comet like vagabond object" also very interesting. This is the first I had heard of it. (LD2) for short maybe?

Great stuff. thanks for the heads-up Scott.




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