(6478) Gault, the tailed asteroid: further evolution – 28 Mar. 2019

After our detection of an antitail feature, we did some follow-up observations of (6478) Gault, taking a deep image. The aspect evolved further, reflecting the changing, relative geometry, after the Earth crossed Gault’s orbital plane.

(6478) Gault: 28 Mar. 2019

(6478) Gault: 28 Mar. 2019

The images above comes from the average of 46, 300-seconds exposures, unfiltered, remotely collected with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available at the Virtual Telescope Project. The image scale is 1.2″/pixel. We used several displaying thresholds, to make sure even the faintest features were visible. Th e telescope tracked the apparent motion of (6478) Gault.

We still see a diffuse coma around the nucleus, now elongated in the SE direction. Likely, this is the evolution of the narrower, antitail feature we saw on 25 Mar., at that time pointing E.

We find the long tail pointing to PA=262 deg, while its length is about 7 arc-minutes.

We will monitor how this will evolve. You can find all our images of (6478) Gault here.

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