A Centaur in Transition

The blazing bright ball slicing through the center of this image is an example of a type of celestial body known as a centaur — a Solar System object that can be like both a comet and an asteroid. These fast moving icy objects reside in unstable orbits in the space between Jupiter and Neptune. The centaur in this image is named P/2019 LD2 (ATLAS), or LD2 for short. LD2 was observed from Gemini North, the Hawai‘i-based half of the international Gemini Observatory, which is a Program of NSF’s NOIRLab. 

To read the rest of this article by NOIRLab, please click on this link, https://noirlab.edu/public/images/iotw2050a/