Asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 and its tail: a new image – 29 Aug. 2021

We checked the interesting asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 and its faint tail again, almost two months after the first detection: that feature is still visible. We are pleased to share our image

Asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 and its faint tail - 29 August 2021.

Asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 and its faint tail – 29 August 2021.

The image above comes from the average of 24, 300-second exposures, unfiltered, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The sky was clear, but a last-quarter Moon was above the horizon. The asteroid and its faint tail are well visible and are marked in the upper right inset. The tail is at least 2.5 arc-mins long. Our previous visit to (248370) 2005 QN173 was on 10 July 2021, under a much less favourable sky.

The tail was reported by the ATLAS survey on July 7, while it does not show on their 27 June images. A collisional event could have triggered the tail on, as well as other causes (past, similar activity was find on archival images, so sublimation is now considered to be its driving mechanism). In the past, we tracked a similar case, involving asteroid (6478) Gault.

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