A study has found a relationship between this asteroid’s proximity to the Sun and its blue color. A study published in the online journal Icarus has claimed that the strong solar radiation may have something to do with the looks of this asteroid.
The Phaethon asteroid was discovered in 1983 by the US space agency NASA. It was seen through a satellite. This is the first asteroid to be discovered with the help of satellite. Phaethon is named after a Greek hero. This asteroid is special in many ways. It is the only asteroid that causes meteor showers. All other meteor showers originate from comets. Meteor showers emanating from Phaethon are visible in the Northern Hemisphere in the month of December.
A new study says that Phaethon is blue in color due to its proximity to the Sun.
When Phaethon reaches its closest point ‘perihelion’ as it orbits the Sun, it heats up to 800 °C. High heat causes strange changes in the chemical composition of this asteroid. The study found that heat affects substances such as iron and other organic compounds, which are red in colour. They are vaporized by the heat and what is left are dark blue colored elements and chemical compounds. It is because of them that the asteroid shines. However, the answer to a question could not be found in the study that why only red colored compounds melt.
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