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Waspie_Dwarf

Phaethon Asteroid Confirmed as Rock Comet

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Phaethon Asteroid Confirmed as Rock Comet by NASA's STEREO Vision

The Sun-grazing asteroid, Phaethon, has betrayed its true nature by showing a comet-like tail of dust particles blown backwards by radiation pressure from the Sun. Unlike a comet, however, Phaethon's tail doesn't arise through the vaporization of an icy nucleus.

During its closest approach to the Sun, researchers believe that Phaethon becomes so hot that rocks on the surface crack and crumble to dust under the extreme heat. The findings will be presented by David Jewitt on Tuesday 10 September at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2013 in London.

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