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Damocloid asteroid

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Damocloids are asteroids such as 5335 Damocles and 1996 PW that have Halley family or long-period highly eccentric orbits typical of periodic comets such as Comet Halley, but without showing a cometary coma or tail.

Damocloids are believed to be nuclei of Halley-type comets that have lost all their volatile materials due to outgassing. Such comets are believed to originate from the Oort cloud. This hypothesis is strengthened by the fact that a number of objects thought to be Damocloids (and assigned minor planet provisional designations) subsequently showed a coma and were confirmed to be comets: C/2001 OG108 (LONEOS), C/2002 CE10 (LINEAR), C/2002 VQ94 (LINEAR), C/2004 HV60 (Spacewatch) and possibly others. Another strong indication of cometary origin is the fact that some Damocloids have retrograde orbits, unlike any other asteroids.

As of late 2005, twenty-five Damocloids were known. Their average radius is 8 kilometers. The albedos of four Damocloids have been measured, and they are among the darkest objects known in the Solar system. Damocloids are reddish in color, but not as red as many Kuiper belt objects or Centaurs.

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The minor planets
Vulcanoids | Near-Earth asteroids | Main belt | Jupiter Trojans | Centaurs | Damocloids | Comets | Trans-Neptunians (Kuiper belt · Scattered disc · Oort cloud)
For other objects and regions, see: asteroid groups and families, binary asteroids, asteroid moons and the Solar system
For a complete listing, see: List of asteroids. See also Pronunciation of asteroid names and Meanings of asteroid names.

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