About 900 asteroids of various sizes and shapescurrently revolves around our sun. Each of these pebbles is unique in its own way, but, nevertheless, humanity is extremely unlucky in the event of a meeting with one of them on our planet. However, despite its formidable appearance, some of these space objects can surprise even the most astronomically sophisticated look. So, in December last year, scientists were able to detect a special asteroid located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Despite its standard appearance for a stone, the incredible asteroid has its own unusual feature - it is able to change color.
Can asteroids change their color?
Astronomers first discovered a small rockyan object that rotates somewhere far in the asteroid belt, back in 1988, deciding to name its find in honor of the famous geologist Donald Gault. Until recently, space rock was considered relatively average, measuring about 2.5 miles wide. Currently, the stone rotates along with thousands of other pieces of rock and dust in the inner region of the asteroid belt, which is located about 214 million miles from the Sun.
Good question: Is it possible to build a city on an asteroid?
Researchers from MIT (MassachusettsInstitute of Technology) confirmed that the asteroid has a rocky surface, although it has an unusual comet-like tail, which is completely unusual for asteroids of its type.
Comets tend to come from much moreremote corners of the solar system. When they fly up to the Sun, the entire surface ice of the comet instantly turns into gas, creating a unique tail, thanks to which comets could become famous. Since a team of scientists discovered that 6478 Gault is a dry, rocky body, this means that the asteroid probably generates dust tails by some other active mechanism.
Watching the asteroid, scientists, to their surprise, found that the stone is able to change color in the near infrared from red to blue.
Researchers believe that the effect of “spacechameleon ”arose as a result of the emission of surface dust of an asteroid, which in millions of years of exposure to the sun has acquired a red tint. Dust, gradually fading into space, exposes areas of a less-irradiated surface that appears blue in the infrared spectrum.
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Active “dropping” dust from the surfaceThe asteroid is due to the fact that the asteroid, apparently, rotates fast enough, which allows the action of centrifugal force to literally “blow off” its entire surface, forming at the same time 2 comet-like tails. So, according to researchers, the asteroid should have about a two-hour period of rotation around its axis, so that the above scenario could develop in full force.