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3200 Phaethon

20 October 2022

Sent in by William – go to https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/bizarre-near-earth-asteroid-spinning-162128067.html …  a bizarre Near Earth asteroid is spinning faster and faster each year, we are told. The space rock, ‘3200 Phaethon’, is 5.4 km wide. Quite a big beast. Its orbit takes it closer and closer to the Sun. Is that why it is spinning faster and faster? During its orbit around the Sun the asteroid, or defunct comet, travels close enough to be regarded as potentially hazardous. It has a dust trail and is still shedding material. Was it once a comet? It is also responsible for the December Geminid meteor shower.

It was first detected in 1983. The sunlight reflected off it has a blueish hue – which is similar to comets. However. Phaethon is still regarded as an asteroid. Is this a remnant of one of Clube and Napier’s comets? Or another comet. It is not mentioned in the index of their books.

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