Astronomers ' observations showed that C/2014 S3 represents an ancient rocky body, similar to those that were the building blocks of solid planets like Earth. This asteroid was thrown out from the Central part of the Solar system and was in the area of the Oort cloud, where it remained frozen for billions of years.

C/2014 S3 was first discovered by ground-based telescope Pan-STARRS1, which is part of the astronomical system of telescopes Pan-STARRS, and identified as poorly active comet.

It is now known that the period of revolution around the Sun in the asteroid is 860 years. This means that initially the object was in the Oort cloud and recently something pushed it towards the Sun and brought on a new orbit.

Обнаружена родственная Земле комета-мутант
Foto: Reuters/Scanpix

For comet C/2014 S3 behaves unusually. It doesn't form a tail, and, as shown by spectral studies, closer to cosmic bodies from the asteroid belt. Very weak cometary activity is obliged sublimation from the surface of asteroid water ice and it is a million times less intense than conventional comets.

According to scientists, the discovery of C/2014 S3 and its properties is of great importance for theoretical models of formation of the Solar system including the Oort cloud, which predict the presence of comets and asteroids with defined ratios of rocks and ice. The discovery of hundreds of rocky-icy asteroids will help to confirm some models and reject others.

The Oort cloud — a hypothetical region of the Solar System in the form of a sphere, which is the source of comets and similar objects. Estimated distance until it reaches about one light year.