Asteroid Phaethon resembles a comet, but instead of ice it might be sodium creating its tail

23. 8. 2021

There is a near-Earth asteroid Phaethon, that behaves almost like a comet. It has an eccentric orbit, that brings it very close to the Sun. When that happens, the asteroid gets brighter, as it loses some of its material. Comets behave in similar way, when the volatiles ices get warmed up, they sublimate and create a coma - tail of the comet. But all ices on Phaethon should be depleted by now and it is not clear what creates the tail of this asteroid. According to a new study it could be sodium.

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