'Halloween' Space Rock Is a Dead Comet

Approaching 'space zombie' looks like a skull
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 31, 2015 10:54 AM CDT
'Halloween' Space Rock Is a Dead Comet
This image of asteroid 2015 TB145 was captured by the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico   (NAIC-Arecibo/NSF)

The "Halloween asteroid" set to make its closest approach to Earth today has turned out to be something spookier: a dead comet. Scientist say object 2015 TB145 looked like an asteroid when it was first spotted a few weeks ago. but closer inspection suggests that it is a comet that has passed the sun so many times that it has lost the layers of ice that would produce a tail, reports the Washington Post, which calls the visitor a "zombie comet." Radar images from the Arecibo observatory in Puerto Rico are also a little unsettling: The data "may indicate that the object might be a dead comet, but in the Arecibo images it appears to have donned a skull costume for its Halloween flyby," a NASA scientist says. (More asteroid stories.)

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