Neither a comet nor an asteroid. Amateurs observed a strange object

A group of astronomers, most of whom are amateurs, examined a strange object with a telescope and according to archival data. According to them, it cannot be classified either as an asteroid or as a comet and is something in between.

Amateurs explored a strange object. Source:

Amateurs discovered a strange object

In astronomy, a lot of discoveries are often made by amateurs. After all, the more people look through telescopes, the more likely it is that someone will see something. However, a considerable part of science also lies in data processing. And the so-called “citizen scientists” are also increasingly involved in this.

A recently published study in The Astrophysical Journal Letters was written by them with the participation of professionals. There they explored the nature of a strange object that astronomers discovered in 2016. However, scientists have not identified it. 

Therefore, the researchers turned to the archives and looked for whether it had ever been on the pictures before. In general, they found about 20 images of the object. Interestingly, scientists saw something similar to a comet tail on them.

What is 2009 DQ118

The object was named 2009 DQ118. Scientists have suggested that it is a quasi-Hilda. The Hildas are asteroids and comets which orbits fluctuate between the main belt and the Trojan points of Jupiter. However, the discovered object, according to scientists, had an orbit that only partially corresponded to this class.

To verify their theories, they used Astrophysical Research Consortium and Magellan Baade telescopes. Observations confirmed their opinion about the intermediate essence of the object. It flies in orbit between Jupiter and the main belt and often approaches the giant planet.

Part of the time it looks like an asteroid, but as it approaches the Sun, cometary activity begins. That is, in every meaning, it is an intermediate object.

According to

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