Suspected asteroid collision leaves trailing debris

Suspected asteroid collision leaves trailing debris

Fig. 13.15b . This unusual object was first discovered by the ground-based LIncoln Near Earth AsteRoid, or LINEAR for short, program, designed to detect asteroids that may collide with the Earth in the future. When the Hubble Space Telescope zoomed in to take a look with its sharper vision, it found a comet-like tail of debris, flowing from an X-shape at the front center of the tail. The X may mark the spot of an asteroid collision in the main belt of asteroids that created the debris. The remains of one of the asteroids, a nucleus 140-meters in size, are offset from the tail center and possible collision site. (Courtesy of NASA/ESA/D. Jewitt, UCLA.)

Copyright 2010, Professor Kenneth R. Lang, Tufts University