Being called a mystery object, astronomers have found something that looks like a comet, but lives in the asteroid belt about 250 million miles from Earth.
The strange object was discovered on January 6 by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) sky survey, which is funded by the United States Air Force and NASA and located in New Mexico.
Generally, comets follow elliptical orbits that get close in to the sun and grow long gaseous and dusty tails as ices sublimate off their solid cores. Asteroids are mostly in more circular orbits and with a high density of them living between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter in the asteroid belt.
Several other comet/asteroid hybrids have been reported over the years, but are still not completely understood by astronomers.
This previously unknown object may be on a high speed collision course with another object in the belt. Astronomers can see debris from previous impacts, but have never seen a collision as it happens.
Is this a new object to the belt? With Aphophis – Asteroid 2004 MN4 recently in the news, the mystery object that passed through Saturn’s F ring and the increased fireball activity in the sky, one might wonder whats coming our way.