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Astronomers Spot Rare Asteroid Break-up

Astronomers are watching asteroid P/2013 R3 come undone as a result of a subtle effect of sunlight, which causes the asteroid to rotate at an increasingly fast rate.
Astronomers Spot Rare Asteroid Break-up
Image from: Kevin M. Gill

Via AFP:

Astronomers said Thursday they have witnessed the distant break-up of an asteroid, a rare event that was not caused by a violent space collision or a close encounter with the Sun.

Instead, the asteroid, located some 300 million miles (483 million kilometers) from the Sun, was likely weakened over time by multiple small run-ins with other space objects, said the report in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

And now, astronomers are watching asteroid P/2013 R3 come undone as a result of a subtle effect of sunlight, which causes the asteroid to rotate at an increasingly fast rate.

"Seeing t...

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