“Get your popcorn out” for the birth of a comet.
In a first, astronomers are observing this mysterious icy object in Jupiter’s shadowbeginning its transformation into a hyperactive comet that will orbit the sun.
It’s called a Centaur, after the mythological part-person, part-horse creatures, because it can behave like an asteroid and a comet. Forty-three years from now, its transition will be complete, an unusually short timeline.
“To see something that’s so short-lived, that’s changing — it’s a reminder that the solar system is dynamic,” said an astronomer.
New York Times, December 4, 2020