Science

A comet-like centaur observed by Hubble near the Trojans on Jupiter

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope spied on a comet-like object known as the Centaurs that settled near a group of captured ancient asteroids called Trojans orbiting alongside Jupiter. NASA says this is the first time that a comet-like object has been spotted near the ancient Trojan cluster. The name Centaur classifies icy bodies in the space between Jupiter and Neptune that first become active when heated as they approach the sun.

After heating, Centaurs Dynamically to become more comet-like. The Hubble telescope captured snapshots of the icy body using visible light, showing that it has comet-like activity, including its tail, jets of gas, and an exciting coma of dust and gas. Previous observations with the Spitzer Space Telescope shed light on the composition of the object and the gases that drive its activity. The Hubble researchers say the obsolete space telescope is the only instrument that can detect features similar to energetic comets from afar with such detail.

The tail of the centaurs is 400,000 miles long, and the images show high-resolution features near the core, including coma and jets. Researcher Price Pauline says the capture of Centaurs in the region is a rare event. For the capture to occur, the object had to enter the orbit of Jupiter in exactly the right path to have a configuration similar to the appearance of sharing its orbit with the planet.

Scientists are currently investigating how Jupiter captured her and wound up in Trojans. The theory, for now, is that it is related to the fact that the Centaurs had a fairly close encounter with Jupiter. The icy body was named P / 2019 LD2 (LD2) and it may have passed near Jupiter about two years ago. At the time, the planet was drawing a visitor to the common orbital position of the Trojan asteroid group, which drives Jupiter around 437 million miles.

As its name suggests, Centaur was specifically discovered in early June 2019 by the University of Hawaii ‘s latest Terrestrial Asteroid Collision Warning System, or ATLAS, which are telescopes located on extinct volcanoes in Mauna Kea and Haleakala. The object will not remain among the Trojan asteroids for long. Computer simulations show that he will have another close encounter with the buyer in about two years’ time, as he will be taken out of the buyer’s system.

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