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NASA observes activity on 15 more asteroids

18 March 2024 [23:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Alimat Aliyeva

With the help of powerful space telescopes, astronomers observe the "activity" of some unusual asteroids, their comet-like tails, as well as clouds of gas and dust. As part of NASA's Active Asteroids project, it was announced that activity had been detected on fifteen asteroids, challenging traditional knowledge about the Solar System, Azernews reports, citing foreign media outlets.

More than 8 thousand volunteers analyzed more than 430 thousand images from the dark energy camera (DECam) on the Victor M. Blanco telescope in Chile to find these fifteen rare objects. Nine volunteers co-authored an article on the results, which has now been published in the Astronomical Journal.

Volunteer Virgilio Gonano from Udine, Italy, said: "For an amateur astronomer like me, it's like a dream come true. Congratulations to the friends who have checked all the signals and pictures."

The study of these rare active asteroids provides scientists with additional information about the formation and evolution of the Solar System, including the origin of water on Earth. These objects can also help in future space exploration, as the same ices that form comet tails can power rockets or provide breathing air for astronauts.

Tiffany Shaw-Diaz, a volunteer from Dayton, Ohio, said: "I have been a member of the Active Asteroids team since the initial data analysis process began. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this project has become a significant part of my life. I look forward to classifying topics every day, if time or health permits, and it is a great honor for me to work regularly with such respected scientists."

The Active Asteroids Project was founded by Colin Orion Chandler, a researcher at the Asteroids and Other Celestial Bodies Project at the University of Washington and the DiRAC Institute.

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