Multiple Outbursts of Asteroid (6478) Gault

Quanzhi Ye, Michael S.P. Kelley, Dennis Bodewits, Bryce Bolin, Lynne Jones, Zhong Yi Lin, Eric C. Bellm, Richard Dekany, Dmitry A. Duev, Steven Groom, George Helou, Shrinivas R. Kulkarni, Thomas Kupfer, Frank J. Masci, Thomas A. Prince, Maayane T. Soumagnac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Main-belt asteroid (6478) Gault unexpectedly sprouted two tails in late 2018 and early 2019, identifying it as a new active asteroid. Here we present observations obtained by the 1.2 m Zwicky Transient Facility survey telescope that provide detailed time-series coverage of the onset and evolution of Gault's activity. Gault exhibited two brightening events, with the first one starting on 2018 October 18 ±5 days and a second one starting on 2018 December 24 ±1 days. The amounts of mass released are 2 ×10 7 kg and 1 ×10 6 kg, respectively. Based on photometric measurements, each event persisted for about a month.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL16
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • comets: individual ((6478) Gault)
  • minor planets, asteroids: individual ((6478) Gault)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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