Comet 433P = Asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 and its tail: new images – 12 Sept. and 27 Oct. 2021

We are pleased to share our follow-up images covering the unusual activity of asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173, now also classified as comet 433P. It is fading, but still shows its tail.

(248370) 2005 QN173 and its tail: 12 Sept. and 27 Oct. 2021.

Comet 433P = Asteroid (248370) 2005 QN173 and its tail: 12 Sept. and 27 Oct. 2021.

The images above comes from two different sessions: one (left) is the average of 11, 300-second exposures, while the other one (right) is the average of 10, 300-second exposures, both unfiltered, remotely taken with the “Elena” (PlaneWave 17″+Paramount ME+SBIG STL-6303E) robotic unit available as part of the Virtual Telescope Project. The asteroid and its faint tail are well visible. Each image is also provided in inverted palette. The tail is at least 2.5 arc-mins long on both images. Our previous visits to 433P = (248370) 2005 QN173 were on 10 July 2021  and 29 Aug. 2021.

The tail was reported by the ATLAS survey on July 7, while it does not show on their 27 June images. It is now considered both a main-belt comet (number 433P) and a main belt asteroid (number 248370). 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.

We plan further imaging.

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