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NASA observes unusual activity on 15 more asteroids

A large-scale study involving amateur astronomers around the world has discovered 15 rare asteroids that exhibit unusual “active” properties that blur the boundaries between asteroids and other celestial objects. The discovered asteroids are described in the Astronomical Journal.

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These asteroids were seen in 430,000 images studied by more than 8,000 volunteers as part of the Active Asteroids Project, founded by Colin Orion Chandler, Ph.D., of the University of Washington and a Dirac Institute scientist.

“Active” asteroids have properties that make them unique in the solar system. Some have comet-like tails, while others are shrouded in clumps of dust or gas. Since their first discovery in 1949, only a few dozen of these rare objects have been discovered.

“The properties these objects exhibit challenge our traditional understanding of solar system objects,” NASA said.

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“They open up possibilities for new understanding of the behavior and origins of these rare active asteroids.”

Or maybe these aren’t asteroids at all?

First thought to be an asteroid, later recast as a likely comet, and by some even considered a possible alien spaceship, the 650-foot-long (200 meters) ‘Oumuamua zoomed through the central solar system in late 2017.

During its brief visit, the rock approached Earth within 15 million miles (24 million kilometers), about 62 Earth-moon distances, and disappeared a few weeks after its discovery.

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A paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, might have an “artificial origin.”

“‘Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization,” they wrote in the paper, which has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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Jake Carter

Jake Carter is a researcher and a prolific writer who has been fascinated by science and the unexplained since childhood. He is always eager to share his findings and insights with the readers of, a website he created in 2013.