The strange mystery of asteroid Phaethon's comet-like tail may have just been solved

"The findings help shed light on the events that could have occurred to Phaethon to create the dust cloud that gives rise to the Geminds.

Though the sodium outflow detected isn’t powerful enough to lift dust particles, this discovery suggests an unobserved and unknown disruption of Phaethon, perhaps as long as two thousand years ago, could have created the debris that causes the Geminids.

The presence of a fresh and volatile sodium layer at the surface of Phaethon also suggests that another mass-loss event may have resurfaced the asteroid as recently as 1,000 years ago. Further study of Phaethon by SOHO could thus reveal the precise origin of the Geminids."

My notes. Very interesting report. Wikipedia reports on this asteroid,

I used my spreadsheet and Jean Meeus algorithms, calculated nearly the same orbit and period 1.434 years. Just how long has 3200 Phaethon been in this orbit (consider how close to the Sun it gets)? The observations suggest some recent activity and in 1 Gyr, nearly 698 million revolutions around the Sun could be completed, assuming it remained stable.

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