No comet

You know what strikes me about asteroid Gault (6478)?

Astronomers believe it might be disintegrating due to the sunlight’s effect on its spin velocity.

Yes, I just wrote that. Photons, which have no mass, still have what is called impulse. They can push, and they do. Gault eventually started to spin too fast to stay together.

I have found no evidence of actual proof of this being the reason for the tails, but it’s absolutely, entirely feasible as an idea.

Just let that sink in. #awesomephysics

Image source
Image credits: NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory)

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