It’s a costeroid!

New Scientist talks about a… thing in space. It’s not an asteroid. It’s not a comet. It’s somehow both:

It has been officially designated as a short-period comet, defined to be a comet that is seen passing near the Sun more than once and that takes less than 200 years to complete an orbit. SOHO has discovered many comets, but this is the first confirmed to be on a short period.

At the time of its discovery, however, some astronomers suggested P/2007 R5 might be an asteroid rather than a comet, because it did not have the classic comet features such as a tail and a coma – the cloud of gas and dust that surrounds a comet’s body, or nucleus.

It still has not shown any of these features, but on its latest passage near the Sun, when it was just 15% of Mercury’s distance from the star, it underwent a dramatic change, brightening by a factor of a million before fading again.

Anyone else for “giant, flaming space eye,” then?