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Icy asteroids

Resident asteroids sprout comet-like dust tails

9:43am, July 17, 2008

Oh, for the good old days, when asteroids were asteroids and comets were comets! In the simplest model of the solar system, which most planetary scientists had accepted for decades, asteroids are rocky, geologically dead bodies and comets are icy objects that flaunt majestic dust tails when they near the sun.

That definitional dividing line began to blur a few years ago when several astronomers, including David Jewitt of the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu and Henry Hsieh, now at Queen’s University Belfast, noticed that three known asteroids had sprouted dusty tails, just like

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