(6478) Gault, the tailed asteroid: a new image – 7 Feb. 2019

We observed (6478) Gault again, the asteroid now showing a narrow, dusty tail. We see that not only the tail is still there, but we confirm a second, short structure recently reported, pointing to a slightly different position angle. Surely we will observe it again, as soon as the weather will make it possible.

(6478) Gault: 7 Feb. 2019

(6478) Gault: 7 Feb. 2019

The image above comes from the average of 16, 300-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at the Virtual Telescope Project. The image scale is 1.2″/pixel.

Measuring the old tail, we have found that here it has a length of 5 arc-minutes, points to PA= 295 deg and is slightly curved: it is significantly longer than on 11/12 Jan. Furthermore, there is a short, new tail, about 30 arc-seconds long and pointing to PA= 305 deg.

We will monitor how this will evolve.

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