Photo: Asteroids Spin Faster Due to Solar Power, Studies Show



Sunlight can increase or decrease an asteroid's spin, suggest a pair of papers that studied the so-called YORP effect on asteroid 54509, also called 2000 PH5, which orbits relatively close to Earth (top image).

Changes in spin could affect whether asteroids spontaneously break apart and could influence their current orbits.

Orbit diagram courtesy NASA/JPL; asteroid 2000 PH5 telescope images courtesy Stephen Lowry


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