Halloween Asteroid Bore Striking Resemblance to Skull

posted: 11/02/15
by: Danny Clemens
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The so-called 'Great Pumpkin' asteroid that zoomed past Earth on Halloween bore an eerie resemblance to a skull, according to photographs released by NASA.

The agency has now labeled the object, officially known as 2015 TB145, a dead comet.

"We found that the object reflects about six percent of the light it receives from the sun," Planetary Science Institute research scientist Vishnu Reddy said in a news release.

Great Pumpkin asteroid

"That is similar to fresh asphalt, and while here on Earth we think that is pretty dark, it is brighter than a typical comet which reflects only 3 to 5 percent of the light. That suggests it could be cometary in origin -- but as there is no coma evident, the conclusion is it is a dead comet."

Related: ESA to Crash Unmanned Spacecraft into Asteroid

First identified on October 10, 2015 TB145 passed Earth at approximately 1.3 times the moon's distance (just under 302,000 miles). 2015 TB145's weekend pass was the closest of any object its size since 2006; not until August 2027 will another large object pass so close to Earth.

2015 TB145 will make another, much more distant pass of Earth in September 2018.


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