The first of its kind, seen by astronomers – in orbit of the largest planet in our system found an unusual active object.
It’s not an asteroid or a comet, but something in between. It’s stuck in the orbit of Jupiter, and this is the first time scientists have seen something like this. LD2-2019 is an active Trojan from a group of asteroids in the same orbital path as Jupiter, all dead, inert fragments of matter. But this one, caught in the giant’s gravity, now has a comet-like tail, the University of Hawaii’s Institute of Astronomy reports.
Active asteroids are rare, but the detection of the active Trojan in Jupiter is unprecedented. “For decades we believed that Trojan asteroids should have a lot of ice underneath their surface, but so far there’s been no evidence. Now that object is proving it with its tail,” said Alan Fit.