A team of “very excited” astronomers discovered activity near a rare type of space object that was rocky like an asteroid but cloudy with dust and gas like a comet.
These unusual celestial bodies are known from Greek mythology as Centaurs, like half-men and half-horse creatures. These are actually secondary planets and the source of the Kuiper belt of ice on the edge of our solar system.
Objects are incredibly rare – in fact, astronomers have only discovered 18 active centers since 1927, despite intensively scanning the sky. Because of this they are misunderstood.
Despite these obstacles, a team of scientists at the University of Northern Arizona has developed a fancy technique for observing a center called OG 392 in 2014 and made an important discovery.
The team has developed an algorithm to scan activity symbols into existing images from space. This enabled them to observe the conversion of 2014 OG392 solids into gases – a process called ecstasy
The next step in the process using computer modeling involves determining what type of ice can burn from the rock to create the halo. The investigation has identified carbon dioxide and ammonia as potential candidates.
This was a significant breakthrough and resulted in the 2014 OG392’s Center status being fully upgraded to a comet. It even has a new name and will now go by the fascinating Monikarika C / 2014 OG392 (PanasterRS) go
“I’m very excited that the Minor Planet Center has been awarded the title of a new comet with the activity it discovered on this extraordinary object.” Lead researcher Colin Chandler said.
Celestial bodies like this are believed to have originated in the solar system and are thought to have changed only billions of years later. Experts hope that studying these will help shed light on how the planets, including Earth, were formed and evolved.
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