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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dead Skull Comet to pass Earth Soon

An artist's impression of Asteroid 2015 TB145. Pic: Jose Antonio Pena/Since© Other An artist's impression of Asteroid 2015 TB145.
A "dead" comet that resembles a human skull is set to travel past the Earth less than a fortnight after Halloween.
The space rock, officially named Asteroid 2015 TB145, was discovered on October 10, 2015, by a team at the University of Hawaii.
NASA fittingly nicknamed the asteroid the "Great Pumpkin" before it passed the Earth at a distance of roughly 302,000 miles on Halloween that year.
It is expected to fly past again on November 11, 2018, at a distance of more than 25 million miles.
Scientists who observed the asteroid using NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, believe it to be an extinct comet that has lost its ice due to repeated orbits of the sun.
After 2018 the comet is not predicted to fly past again for another 70 years, when it is expected to come within 5.4 million miles of Earth.
When NASA tracked the "dead" comet in 2015, it said the rock was 2,000 feet wide.
The first radar images of Asteroid 2015 TB145 were generated by the National Science Foundation's 1,000-feet Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.
Scientists determined it completed a rotation about once every five hours.

NASA scientist Kelly Fast said in 2015: "(IRTF) data may indicate that the object might be a dead comet, but the Arecibo images it appears to have donned a skull costume for its Halloween flyby."culled

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