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Dwarf planet 'becoming a comet'

Cosmic/Space News
Image: Artist's impression: 2003 EL61 is a strange object

Jan 17, 2007
An unusual dwarf planet discovered in the outer Solar System could be en route to becoming the brightest comet ever known.
2003 EL61 is a large, dense, rugby-ball-shaped hunk of rock with a fast rotation rate.
Professor Mike Brown has calculated that the object could be due a close encounter with the planet Neptune.
If so, Neptune's gravity could catapult it into the inner Solar System as a short-period comet.
"If you came back in two million years, EL61 could well be a comet," said Professor Brown, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena.
"When it becomes a comet, it will be the brightest we will ever see."
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