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Keyword: comets

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  • Cometary Activity Spotted on Distant Centaur

    10/29/2020 5:34:55 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    Sci-News ^ | 10/29/2020
    Centaurs are minor planets thought to have originated in the outer region of our Solar System known as the Kuiper Belt. Active centaurs enigmatically display prominent comet-like features such as comae or tails even though they orbit in the gas giant region where it is too cold for water to readily sublimate. Only 18 active centaurs have been identified since 1927 and, consequently, the underlying activity mechanisms are still poorly understood. 2014 OG392 orbits between 10 and 15 AU (astronomical units) where its equilibrium temperature would be around minus 213 degrees Celsius (minus 351 degrees Fahrenheit). Chandler and colleagues initially...
  • A Rare Hybrid of a Comet And an Asteroid Is Showing Off Its Cometary Traits

    11/02/2020 11:11:00 AM PST · by Red Badger · 4 replies
    www.sciencealert.com ^ | 1 NOVEMBER 2020 | DAVID NIELD
    This image highlights the bright coma of C/2014 OG392 (PANSTARRS). (Northern Arizona University ======================================================================= Centaurs are rare celestial objects that can combine some of the different features of asteroids and comets. They're basically rocky in nature, like asteroids, but can also throw out clouds of dust and gas as their exteriors vaporize, like comets. When centaurs emit these gases, they're considered active. We've only ever found 18 chemically active centaurs in the last century or so, but now a new one has been added to the list – and it might be able to tell us more about how these...
  • RV-size asteroid to get closer to Earth than the moon

    09/22/2020 6:54:35 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 46 replies
    live Science ^ | 09/22/2020 | Laura Geggel
    Scientists have yet to pin down the asteroid's exact size, but it's not that large, likely between 14 feet and 32 feet (4.4 and 9.9 meters) long, according to CNEOS. This potentially RV-size asteroid was discovered only last week, on Sept. 18, by the Mount Lemmon Survey in Arizona, and announced the next day by the Minor Planet Center, a NASA-funded group that monitors minor planets, comets and natural satellites. (It's not unusual to find unknown asteroids; in September alone, the Minor Planet Center has announced the discovery of 244 near-Earth objects.) Passing by Earth will actually be a life-changing...
  • The moon is rusting, and Earth is to blame

    09/03/2020 3:49:00 PM PDT · by BenLurkin · 22 replies
    CNET ^ | Sept. 2, 2020 6:36 p.m. PT | Mark Serrels
    So why does rust currently exist on the moon? There are a number of factors, but Earth is partly to blame. To begin with, water exists on the moon in small quantities. Ice water exists in lunar craters, but that water exists on the far side of the moon, far from where the rust occurred. The current theory is that dust particles that often hit the moon are helping release water molecules, mixing those water molecules with iron on the surface. Then there's the oxygen part. That's where Earth comes in. Thanks to the fact it exists in such close...
  • The Tails of Comet NEOWISE (Astronomy Picture of the Day)

    07/11/2020 3:49:37 PM PDT · by MtnClimber · 7 replies
    APOD.NASA ^ | 11 Jul, 2020 | Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology)
    Explanation: Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) is now sweeping through northern skies. Its developing tails stretch some six degrees across this telescopic field of view, recorded from Brno, Czech Republic before daybreak on July 10. Pushed out by the pressure of sunlight itself, the comet's broad, yellowish dust tail is easiest to see. But the image also captures a fainter, more bluish tail too, separate from the reflective comet dust. The fainter tail is an ion tail, formed as ions from the cometary coma are dragged outward by magnetic fields in the solar wind and fluoresce in the sunlight. In this...
  • Comet Neowise can be seen early evening starting tomorrow 7/12/2020. Directions included.

    07/11/2020 1:05:49 PM PDT · by dragnet2 · 21 replies
    http://www.freerepublic.com ^ | 7/11/2020 | dragnet2
    Up until now, you had to get up at about 4:00 a.m. to view Comet Neowise. Weather permitting, now starting Sunday, July 12, 2020 it can been seen on the lower northwestern horizon during/after evening twilight. Where to look? It's going to be about 5 degrees above the north/northwestern horizon starting Sunday evening at about twilight. To determine what 5 degrees are, keep reading. Hold your hand at arm’s length and close one eye, make a fist, with the back of your hand facing you. The width of your fist will approximately be 10 degrees. 5 degrees are about three...
  • A Cool Idea to Catch Up With an Interstellar Visitor

    05/10/2020 2:48:43 AM PDT · by LibWhacker · 8 replies
    Universe Today ^ | 5/8/20 | Evan Gough
    May 8, 2020May 8, 2020 by Evan GoughA Cool Idea to Catch Up With an Interstellar Visitor Poor, dim-witted humanity. We used to think we were the center of everything. That wasn’t that long ago, and even though we’ve made tremendous advancements in our understanding of our situation here in space, we still have huge blind spots.For one, we’re only now waking up to the reality of interstellar objects passing through our Solar System. In 2017, Oumuamua came for a brief visit, and was confirmed as an interstellar object. It’ll never return, and will spend an eternity travelling through the...
  • Interstellar Comet Borisov Shines in Incredible New Hubble Photos

    12/15/2019 7:06:15 AM PST · by BenLurkin · 12 replies
    Space.com ^ | 12/14/2019 | Chelsea Gohd
    In the first of these new images, taken on Nov. 16, the comet was approximately 203 million miles from Earth, seen in front of a distant spiral galaxy known as 2MASX J10500165-0152029, according to a NASA statement. You can see the comet's tail of dust up to the right. You can also see that the object's bright core looks smudged, as Hubble was imaging the object while also tracking its movement. In both images, 2I/Borisov has been artificially colored blue so that details can be seen in the coma, or envelope of dust and material that surrounds the comet's core,...
  • Interstellar comet will pass close to Earth this weekend

    12/07/2019 7:46:46 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 23 replies
    CNN ^ | December 6, 2019 | Ashley Strickland,
    Astronomers have captured the best and closest image to date of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov, a visitor that originated from outside of our solar system and is currently passing through. On Sunday, the comet will pass within 190 million miles of Earth on its closest approach before continuing on through our solar system. As it gets closer to Earth, the icy comet is shedding more gas and dust through its tail through evaporation. Astronomers at Yale University used the W.M. Keck Observatory's Low-Resolution Imaging Spectrometer, located in Hawaii, to provide the closest look at the interstellar comet since it was first...
  • Astronomers find cyanide gas in interstellar object 2I/Borisov

    10/08/2019 8:22:09 AM PDT · by BenLurkin · 21 replies
    phys.org ^ | 10/07/2019 | Mat Williams
    C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) this summer provided renewed opportunities to study material left by outgassing. Using data gathered by the William Herschel Telescope (WHT), an international team of astronomers found that 2I/Borisov contains cyanide. Since comets and asteroids are essentially material left over from the formation of a planetary system, these studies will allow scientists to place constraints on the physical and chemical processes involved in the formation of extrasolar planets. Basically, it's like being able to study extrasolar planets without having to go there physically. Prof. Fitzsimmons told Universe Today, materials from other planetary systems, delivered to our doorstep—or at...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Big Dipper, Deep Sky

    01/22/2016 10:26:00 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    NASA ^ | January 23, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The Big Dipper is an easy to recognize, well-known asterism in northern skies, though many see the Plough or Wagon. Famous bright nebulae of the north can also be found along its familiar lines, highlighted in this carefully composed scene with telescopic insets framed in the wider-field skyview. All from Messier's catalog, M101 and M51 are cosmic pinwheel and whirlpool on the left, spiral galaxies far beyond the Milky Way. To the right, M108, a distant edge-on spiral galaxy is seen close to our galaxy's own owl-faced planetary nebula M97. Taken on January 16, the wider-field view seems to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comets and Bright Star

    01/06/2016 12:14:43 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 3 replies
    NASA ^ | January 06, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This timely, telescopic, two panel mosaic spans about 10 full moons across planet Earth's predawn skies. Recorded as the year began from Tenerife, Canary Islands, near the top of the frame are the faint coma and tail of Comet Borrelly (P/19). A comet with a seven year orbital period, Borrelly's nucleus was visited by the ion propelled spacecraft Deep Space 1 near the beginning of the 21st century. Anchoring the scene at the bottom is brilliant star Arcturus (Alpha Bootes) and Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) a first time visitor from the Oort Cloud. Catalina's yellowish dust tail extends below...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Catalina Tails

    01/01/2016 10:28:53 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | January 01, 2016 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A new year's treat for binoculars, as 2016 begins Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10) now sweeps through planet Earth's predawn skies near bright Arcturus, alpha star of Bootes. But this telescopic mosaic from December 21 follows the pretty tails of the comet across a field of view as wide as 10 full moons. The smattering of distant galaxies and faint stars in the background are in the constellation Virgo. Trailing behind the comet's orbit, Catalina's dust tail fans out below and left in the frame. Its ion tail is angled toward the top right, away from the Sun and buffeted...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Comet Meets Moon and Morning Star

    12/11/2015 11:38:43 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | December 12, 2015 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: A crescent Moon and brilliant Venus met in predawn skies on December 7, a beautiful conjunction of planet Earth's two brightest celestial beacons after the Sun. Harder to see but also on the scene was Comet Catalina (C/2013 US10). The fainter comet clearly sporting two tails, lunar night side, bright sunlit lunar crescent, and brilliant morning star, are all recorded here by combining short and long exposures of the same field of view. Pointing down and right, Catalina's dust tail tends to trail behind the comet's orbit. Its ion tail, angled toward the top left of the frame, is...
  • Surprising Recent Discoveries of Three Large Near-Earth Objects

    02/17/2014 7:24:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 18 replies
    NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office ^ | November 5, 2013 | Don Yeomans and Paul Chodas
    The first of the new large near-Earth asteroid discoveries is named 2013 UQ4, and it is perhaps the most unusual. This approximately 19-kilometer (12-mile) wide object was spotted by the Catalina Sky Survey on Oct. 23 when the asteroid was 435 million kilometers (270 million miles) away from Earth. Not only is this object unusually large, it follows a very unusual highly inclined, retrograde orbit about the Sun, which means it travels around the Sun in the opposite direction of all the planets and the vast majority of asteroids. The only objects usually found in retrograde orbits are comets, which...
  • Proof of 'Planet Nine' May Be Sewn into Medieval Tapestries

    02/28/2019 8:50:11 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 45 replies
    Live Science ^ | May 4, 2018 | Stephanie Pappas
    The records include dates and times, Cesario said, which makes them useful to modern-day astronomers. Planet Nine, if it exists, would have about 10 times the mass of Earth and orbit 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune does... Scientists suspect the existence of Planet Nine because it would explain some of the gravitational forces at play in the Kuiper Belt, a stretch of icy bodies beyond Neptune. But no one has been able to detect the planet yet, though astronomers are scanning the skies for it with tools such as the Subaru Telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano....
  • How to See the Bright Green Comet 21P in Binoculars on Monday

    09/09/2018 9:10:50 AM PDT · by ETL · 16 replies
    Space.com ^ | September 9, 2018 | Elizabeth Howell, Space.com Contributor
    Want to see a comet whizzing by Earth? A great chance to catch one of these celestial visitors is overnight tonight, when Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner will be best visible in binoculars or a telescope. The comet, also known as "21P," will make its closest approach to Earth at around 2:30 a.m. EDT Monday (630 GMT). The bright-green comet should reach a visual magnitude of 6.5 to 7, according to EarthSky.org. This makes 21P almost bright enough to see with the naked eye — but not quite. [Bright Comets of 2018: When, Where and How to See Them] To find Comet 21P...
  • The Solar System: Old Or Young? Part II

    09/07/2018 9:35:38 AM PDT · by Patriot777 · 53 replies
    09/07/2018 | Patriot777
    The larger planets such as Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus remarkably put off more energy than they absorb from our sun. If they were actually in the billions of years of age, should they not have become frozen and expired an incalculable length of time ago. Scientists in this field have come up with many reasons as to the how that these celestial entities kept their heat as far as their theories; however, their noses are firmly planted in a major wall that repels everything they've come up with. Volcanism observed on Jupiter's Io and the geyers with Saturn's Enceladus command...
  • A close call of 0.8 light years [Nibiru?]

    02/22/2015 7:43:37 AM PST · by Red Badger · 38 replies
    Phys.Org ^ | Provided by University of Rochester
    A group of astronomers from the US, Europe, Chile and South Africa have determined that 70,000 years ago a recently discovered dim star is likely to have passed through the solar system's distant cloud of comets, the Oort Cloud. No other star is known to have ever approached our solar system this close - five times closer than the current closest star, Proxima Centauri. In a paper published in Astrophysical Journal Letters, lead author Eric Mamajek from the University of Rochester and his collaborators analyzed the velocity and trajectory of a low-mass star system nicknamed "Scholz's star." The star's trajectory...
  • Star Blasted Through Solar System 70,000 Years Ago

    02/18/2015 1:11:46 PM PST · by BenLurkin · 113 replies
    discovery.com ^ | Ian O'Neill
    Highlighted by astronomers at the University of Rochester and the European Southern Observatory, the star — nicknamed “Scholz’s star” — has a very low tangential velocity in the sky, but it has been clocked traveling at a breakneck speed away from us. In other words, from our perspective, Scholz’s star is fleeing the scene of a collision with us. “Most stars this nearby show much larger tangential motion,” said Eric Mamajek, of the University of Rochester. “The small tangential motion and proximity initially indicated that the star was most likely either moving towards a future close encounter with the solar...