Must-See Video Of A Real Snow Storm On A Comet

Snow storm on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko At first I thought it was fake, but the source is the European Space Agency and the images are real. You’re seeing a sequence of still photos taken by the Rosetta spacecraft as it orbited Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on June 1, 2016. Individual photos were compiled into a short animation by Twitter…
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See What Comets And Blizzards Have In Common

If you’ve ever driven through a snowstorm you know how disorienting it can be. Millions of flakes rebounding off your windshield. White-out conditions. It’s not so different for a spacecraft orbiting a comet. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission had a similar experience, for more than two years, as it flew alongside Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko between 2014…
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Interstellar Misfit ‘Oumuamua Could Be Dormant Comet

Astronomers haven’t taken their eyes off the interstellar asteroid better known as ‘Oumuamua since its discovery in late October. Now more than twice the distance of Earth from the sun and ultra-faint at magnitude 27, it continues its headlong flight out of our solar system. From whence it came we don’t know, but its boomerang-shaped…
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What Does A Comet Smell Like?

We rarely use our sense of smell in astronomy except for the occasional run-in with a skunk during late night sky sweeping. We can’t smell the irony-dusty air on Mars, the pungent ammonia clouds that swaddle Jupiter or the reeking sulfur plumes of Io’s many active volcanoes. Our noses are helpless. I love hunting for…
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Did An Interstellar Comet Just Fly By Earth?

Every comet we’ve ever known has originated within our solar system either in the distant realm beyond Neptune called the Kuiper Belt or even further, in the great comet repository of the Oort Cloud. Astronomers have never seen an interstellar comet or asteroid, one arriving here after being kicked out by another star. That may…
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