A ‘weird and freakish’ (to use NASA’s technical terms) spinning object has been spotted by the Hubble Telescope in our solar system, in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The strange object is seeing spewing matter from its surface and moving on its own. One theory posits that the asteroid is spinning so quickly that it’s disintegrating under the strain. The object’s spin, meanwhile, is thought to be attributed to protons and radiation emitted by the Sun, which can push against objects and cause rotation. This is called the YORP effect, named after the four scientists who contributed to the theory: Yarkovsky, O’Keefe, Radzievskii, and Paddack. Now you know.
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