The asteroid, named Guo may be tumbling through the final stages of Todes 100 million years, and it beats leaving himself everywhere she goes.
Authors: NASA, ESA, and J. K. Mitch Kleyna (University of Hawaii) and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory)
The asteroid, named Gault spiral in untidy self-destruction – and, like watching a car accident, the researchers hardly looking away.
Gault is approximately 2.5 miles (4 kms) wide, and currently resides in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, together with 800,000 or so fellow space rocks. Soon, however, Gault could not be anything else but a smear of dust in the cosmos. [The 8 Strangest Objects in the Universe]
Recently, telescopes around the world caught Gault "wrong" as one German scientist spoke at NASA statement. The asteroid, apparently swaying and tumbling about themselves more quickly than healthy asteroid should, and it starts an avalanche of small pieces of himself in the massive debris flows, which stretch for hundreds of thousands of miles behind him.
Astronomers of NASA, the European Southern Observatory (ESO's) and other places recently measured two of debris trails next Gault in space – one area of about 500,000 miles (800,000 km) in length and the other approximately 125,000 miles (200,000 km) in length. These long tails are clear signs that Guo is spinning out of control – is likely to complete a full turn once every 2 hours, which is about as fast as an asteroid theory can be rotated before it falls apart completely.
What causes this self-destructive pattern? According to NASA, this may be the final meal in 100 million-year-old Todes, which began shortly after Gault got too much sun in his youth. Solar radiation heats the surface of the asteroid, NASA wrote, but it also causes the asteroids to make the infrared radiation of their own. If the asteroids lose heat, they also lose a bit of momentum. Over time, this loss of momentum may create a torque on the asteroid, which, in turn, gradually increases its speed. (This is known as the YORP.)
Researchers predict that the rotation acceleration Gault began about 100 million years ago and is constantly accelerating at 1 second every 10,000 years since. Now, it is close to the theoretical limit at which asteroids are asteroids and cease to be losing power over their constituents.
Two dusty trail streaming from behind Gault may be the result of landslides on the surface of the asteroid, which lasted for several hours, or even days, NASA wrote, and there may be more to come in the Kuo continues its path of self-destruction. If and when the rock finally loses its shape and disintegrates into dust, astronomers hope to make this happen; Such events are considered to be extremely rare in the asteroid belt, it occurs about once a year.
A document on this rare cosmic melting has been accepted for publication in the next issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
originally published live science.