First Ever Asteroid With Six Tails ‘Belches’ Space Dust

Astronomers spot the bizarre rock with NASA's Hubble telescope

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NASA, ESA, David Jewitt / UCLA

A never-before-seen phenomenon of six comet-like tails radiating from the body of an asteroid that scientists have named P/2013 P5.

Scientists at NASA are scratching their heads after an unusual asteroid was spotted by the Hubble telescope in Hawaii. Unlike most asteroids, this one resembles a “rotating lawn sprinkler,” spraying out six comet-like tails.

“We were literally dumbfounded when we saw it,” lead investigator David Jewitt said in a press release. “Even more amazing, its tail structures change dramatically in just 13 days as it belches out dust.”

Astronomers believe the rock, dubbed P/2013 P5, could have come from an asteroid collision around 200 million years ago. The object may have begun spinning so fast that it started to disintegrate, they suggested.