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back to article 'Weird' OBJECT, PROPELLED by its OWN JETS, spotted beyond Mars orbit by Hubble

A bizarre spinning object, described by NASA as "weird and freakish" and shooting jets of matter that cause it to move, has been spotted in our Solar System. The mysterious rock, located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, was seen spewing matter from its surface by the Hubble space telescope on September 10. Then in …

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Alien

YORP? Really? Naming something that terribly could only be the result of a women's health product focus group, or alien conspirators who have infiltrated the astronomy field in an attempt to cover up the imminent arrival of more landing craft if, as in this case, they were accidentally spotted. Even the lamest Human astrophysicist could come up with something better than "it's like, spinning man, really fast and parts are flying off". The fact this kind of stuff is printed in the media is just proof that they're in on it too.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't "Yorp" said by the big chap in Hot Fuzz?

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Anonymous Coward

Nyarp...

I think you'll find it's 'Yarp'...

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YORP is a bit rubbish isn't it ? They had enough for PYRO, though even PORY might have been preferable...

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Isn't YORP the name of the Cottnent? At least that's what "Fraffly Well Spoken" leads me to believe.

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Yorp

YORP is a bit rubbish isn't it ? They had enough for PYRO, though even PORY might have been preferable...

Ropy is better still, just like the speculations on what this phenomena is.

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Black Helicopters

Asteroid, really? Or something wicked that this way comes? I'm waiting for the conspiracy types and the tinfoil hat types to leap all over this.

Pass the popcorn, please, as it will be entertaining to watch the commentaries in the popular press and possibly here.

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Mushroom

NIBIRU!!!!!

A few years or so late!

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Erm...

"The prevailing theory now is that the asteroid is being spun around so quickly that it is breaking apart under the strain of its own rotation. "

Wouldn't this create a spiral effect like the arms of our galaxy, rather than the straight-line ejecta the photos show?

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Re: Erm...

Possibly.

I'm more thinking it got spun by an impact that fractured the asteroid, permitting sunlight to warm volatiles beneath the surface that normally would not have been heated.

I'd go take pictures and gather samples, but some Doctor stole my transportation...

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Re: Erm...

Surely, the outpouring is also travelling in the direction of the spin at the point it left the influence of the object itself? So a spiral effect could be reduced to a point of being not visible to the naked eye?

Just guessing. Might be bollocks.

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Re: Erm...

I read it as the sun would make the object rotate fast and faster until it started to break apart under it's own centrifugal force, at which point, the gas would be released from the asteroid in the form of jets thus causing the propulsion seen. It would then not be spinning as it was originally due to the sudden propulsion in one direction.

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Anonymous Coward

It's simple really...

..the outgassing is most likely coming out at an angle, thus imparting spin. Basic ballistics. Don't need a rocket scientist for that one.

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Re: It's simple really...

"Don't need a rocket scientist for that one."

Dunno about that one, a rocket scientist would be able to calculate the impetus created by any such jets. :)

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Alien

That's no asteroid.....

It's a giant disco ball!

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Monster mash

I think its a conglomerate ball of rock/ice, mostly rocky surface, but gaps for some ice fields, these when rotating into sun light, these outgas, as it spins, it looks like a sprinkler ......

OR it is a alien mining ship, using a process we dont understand, strip mining our asteroid field, to build a robot army to kick our butts !!!! Get your tinfoil hats on now, before it's too late !!!

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Re: Monster mash

That's a million-to-one, surely?

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Alien

Re: Monster mash

The chances of anything coming from (the vicinity of) Mars are a million to one....

...But still, They come!

UUUULAAAAH!

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Re: Monster mash

@ Robert E A Harvey

"That's a million-to-one, surely?"

Not sure what U mean, but, odds of 999 billion to 1 can happen in a universe this crazy, just not too often ....

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Re: Monster mash

It's from Jeff Wayne's War of The Worlds.

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Re: Monster mash

Arhhh, yes, I am in the boat now ... I have a Double LP of it here, didn't even click .. hehe

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aqk
IT Angle

Maybe it's an MS spin?

What no anti-Win8 diatribe yet?

Where is everyone?

Surely this rocky object is just blowing off gases (sort of like tossing chairs) into empty space, and is thus rotating its way slowly back to Windows-7 (or perhaps XP) where the large majority of antediluvian Register readers reside...

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Re: Maybe it's an MS spin?

It's obviously not running windows, it hasn't stopped for a update ...

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Re: Maybe it's an MS spin?

However, if it spins on without any change for an extremely long amount of time, it's obviously be *BSD.

If it spins with massive changes over rather short periods, it's obviously Linux.

If it spins, then switches about a few times, with massive deleterious changes, it's obviously Macintosh.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe it's an MS spin?

Never using Windows 8. Android for me.

Even thinking of going back to Unix as a result of Metro

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Facepalm

Re: Maybe it's an MS spin?

Tossing things off while madly spinning? Obviously it's a "Ballmer Ball!"

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107K (-103.15°C) is too hot for ice? Uh, oh. I better readjust me refrigerator.

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It's space ice.

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Holmes

Hot ice

It's in a vacuum, weightless, and it sublimes quickly.

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Re: Hot ice

HR, don't you love that: a weightless massive object.

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Different flavour of iceblock

Maybe it is not water ice ? Something else with some volatility ....

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Re: Hot ice

Technically it will have some weight, or at the least some component parts will have some weight due to the gravity of the overall object itself.

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Anonymous Coward

First example?

"Since the pressure from the Sun is constant, and space is virtually frictionless, then asteroids can spin faster and faster until they disintegrate."

Given that the number of asteroids is in the millions, that they have been around for millions of years, and that the effect is something that should have been going on for quite a while for, probably, a considerable portion of those asteroids, is the fact that this is the first observation of the effect an indication of lack of attention up to this point?

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Re: First example?

No idea if it's a fault of the article... but some unequal force is needed for spin. So something would need to be set up just right for this one rock to spin from solar forces only. I'd put such a theory below "hit by another rock" and "off-gassing of ice under the surface (thus the sudden event and surface having no ice) on the plausibility scale. But then which one get's more funding/headlines/papers published? The plausible one, or the crackpot... ahem, less likely and more convoluted explanation?

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Re: First example?

My vote is on 'hit by another rock'. It's hard to explain that the basically constant solar radiation across the rock's surface would impart rotation. But maybe that's just the journalist's lack of understanding that lead to the omission of that essential explanation. As it comes without the article is next to useless, other than bringing an odd object into the broader public news arena.

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Re: First example?

Actually you explain with the assimetry of the asteroid, as it was hinted in the article...

"This YORP effect (named after the four scientists who contributed to the theory: Yarkovsky, O'Keefe, Radzievskii, and Paddack) has been suggested as a reason for the relative paucity of small, asymmetrical objects within our Solar System in comparison to rounder rocks, and the search is now on for more observations of the theory in action."

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Re: First example?

Again, that's the theory, as yet without observation. Do uneven shapes rotate when solar radiation is applied? Or show that the sun "burns off the edges and makes them round" as the above quote seems to suggest.

Many other factors can play to why the rocks are round (structure, strength, gravity, impact) etc.

I'll not quote the astronomer, physicist and mathematician on a train gag. ;)

But I'm not suggesting it's wrong, just it's still very low in the plausibility until more observations are made. :)

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Oh for pity's sakes Re: First example?

Everything in space spins to some degree. Angular momentum is universal. It's more a question of how much this asteroid's angular momentum differs from other asteroids'. And it's likely that the outgassing is the result of a thin layer of insulating rock being eroded off by flares and the like, than an impact.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: First example?

It's also hard to explain how wind turns a pin wheel, but I spent some hours of my youth blowing at one. I still can't figure it out.

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Re: Oh for pity's sakes First example?

Lapun Mankimasta, the question is, how does the sun impart rotational momentum. I do not question that it exists for objects orbiting the sun. The question is, how is an energy gradient setup so that the rock gains momentum in it's rotation?

As for the wind/pin wheel. Yep, that's down to the shape. So, have they observed the shape of this rock to confirm it? It's the difference between claiming "rocks spin because of solar wind" and "rocks spin because of collisions with other rocks".

As said, it's no doubt a correct theory, but it needs observation to support it first.

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Re: First example?

The force coming from the sun hits the sunward facing side of the asteroid fairly evenly. So if the asteroid is asymettrical, there will be a greater force to one side of its centre of mass than the other. This will cause it to spin.

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I was wondering when the probe from Haumea would reach the inner planets.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/13/haumea_strangeness/

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@ Captain DaFt

Yeah I saw that, but did/if you look on in further at Haumea's orbit, it may be a gravitational slingshot away from coming to inner solar system, this inter galactic pool is trickier than appears, it seems they might not need the probe, I seen "when worlds collide", so it must be true ...

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Spinning so much that the innards of the asteroid are coming out of the core through the several crater holes that it has, and giving a garden sprinkler like effect. The real question is: how can a massive crater get so much angular momentum that is spins wildly enough to have its innards spewing out? This does not make much sense. Perhaps its a aliens version of a Mexican fireworks, or pin wheel?

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Alien

Update required

It's so unusual........so where are the later pics then? Sept 23rd was 6 weeks ago.

Or perhaps they don't want us to know

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Alien

"The current idea is that the asteroid is being spun around so quickly that it is breaking apart under the strain of its own rotation. The spin is probably the result of hundreds of thousands of years of slight pressure from solar emissions."

Not an alien space ship that's accidentally been struck as it passes through the belt and is now out of control, then?

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Surely an intelligent alien ship would come in at an angle to the ecliptic plane to avoid the disk of crap?

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The Asteroid is Electrically Charged and Passing Through the Sun's Electric Field

The asteroid is approaching the sun and thus moving further into the sun's electric field (which accelerates the solar wind away from the sun). The asteroid has an electric charge and thus behaves like a comet - check this out : The Electric Comet at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34wtt2EUToo

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Re: The Asteroid is Electrically Charged and Passing Through the Sun's Electric Field

JeanLucPicardFacepalm.jpg

Care to explain how the asteroid can keep its charge for any amount of time at all? Being immersed in solar wind which is rich in charged particles of all sort would then equalize its charge to pretty much exactly zero faster than the European Central Bank deciding on another half-percentage cut of the interbank interest rate.

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Re: The Asteroid is Electrically Charged and Passing Through the Sun's Electric Field

Ssssshh! They dont want any logic to be applied to their hypothese!

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