Warning: This story may give you a sense of déjà vu.
For years, amateur astronomers have been waiting for a bright, naked-eye comet to pass by Earth — and finally, such an object may have arrived.
A review of data taken over the course of the two-year Rosetta mission shows that comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was sometimes reddish in appearance, while at other times it assumed a bluish hue. Sounds weird, but scientists have come up with a sensible explanation that doesn’t involve aliens with paint guns.
Interstellar comet 2I — Borisov swings past sun
Stars and comets make unlikely dance partners. Their gravitational partnership is one that astronomers have long suspected but have never seen — until now. For the first time, a Polish group has identified two nearby stars that seem to have plucked up their icy partners, swinging them into orbits around our sun.
Using data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), astronomers at the University of Maryland (UMD), in College Park, Maryland, have captured a clear start-to-finish image sequence of an explosive emission of dust, ice and gases during the close approach of comet 46P/Wirtanen in late 2018. This is the most complete and detailed observation to date of the formation and dissipation of a naturally-occurring comet outburst. The team members reported their results in the November 22 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
Wednesday, October 16th 2019, 5:00 pm – Hubble zooms in on our latest intersellar visitor
The first-ever comet from beyond our solar system, as imaged by the Gemini Observatory. The image of the newly discovered object, named 2I/Borisov, was taken on the night of Sept. 9-10, 2019 using the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph on the Gemini North Telescope from Hawaii’s Mauna Kea
A new flyby mission selected by the European Space Agency this week for launch in 2028 will be the first to intercept a new comet or interstellar object fresh from the frozen depths of the outer solar system, or beyond.
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) observed the hyperactive Jupiter-family comet 46P/Wirtanen as it made its closest approach to Earth in December 2018. Now the latest analysis of SOFIA’s data reveals that water in hyperactive comets may share a common origin with Earth’s oceans, reinforcing the idea that comets played a key role in bringing water to our planet billions of years ago.