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Asteroid P/2013 R3 Falls Apart: Rare Hubble Space Telescope Photos

Asteroid P/2013 R3 Breaking Up: Part 1

NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles)

This series of Hubble Space Telescope photos captures a rare event in action, the breakup of asteroid P/2013 R3 as it happened in 2013 and 2014. HERE: This photo from Hubble shows the rare sight of the asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart. This image, the first in a series, was taken on Oct. 29, 2013. [Read the Full Story and See Video of the Asteroid Breakup]

Asteroid P/2013 R3 Breaking Apart

NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA)

This series of images shows the asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart, as viewed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 2013. This is the first time that such a body has been seen to undergo this kind of break-up. This image was released March 6, 2014. [Read the Full Story and See Video of the Asteroid Breakup]

Asteroid P/2013 R3 Breaking Up: Part 2

NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles)

This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the rare sight of the asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart. This image, the second in a series, was taken on Nov. 15, 2013. Image released March 6, 2014. [Read the Full Story and See Video of the Asteroid Breakup]

Asteroid P/2013 R3 Breaking Up: Part 3

NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles)

This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the rare sight of the asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart. This image, the third in a series, was taken on Dec. 13, 2013. Image released March 6, 2014. [Read the Full Story and See Video of the Asteroid Breakup]

Asteroid P/2013 R3 Breaking Up: Part 4

NASA, ESA, and D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles)

This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the rare sight of the asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart. This image, the fourth in a series, was taken on Jan. 14, 2014. Image released March 6, 2014. [Read the Full Story and See Video of the Asteroid Breakup]

Disintegrating Asteroid P/2013 R3 Illustration

NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (UCLA), and A. Feild (STScI)

This illustration shows one possible explanation for the disintegration of asteroid P/2013 R3. [Read the Full Story and See Video of the Asteroid Breakup]

Icon in Space

NASA

Astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope, now in its 24th year in orbit, to see asteroid P/2013 R3 breaking apart in 2013 and 2014.

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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter.