Scientists have caught their best-ever look at a comet belching out ice, dust and gas — and the observations came courtesy of a mission designed to hunt for alien worlds.
Comets are remnants from the early days of the solar system, billions of years ago. Primarily made of ice and dust, these "dirty snowballs" orbit the sun and in habit the Oort cloud, an area in the outskirts of the solar system beyond Pluto. As comets approach the inner solar system, solar wind from the sun can sweep dust back into a long tail. When these comets are close enough to Earth, they can appear as dazzling objects in the night sky. Space probes from Earth have visited several comets to learn more about their composition. Learn more about comets, icy wanderers in the solar system.
A new photo shows the solar system's second confirmed interstellar visitor in an impressive new light.
NASA's venerable Hubble Space Telescope turned its eyes to interstellar visitor Comet 2I/Borisov and caught a surprise: The interloper looks a lot like comets from our own solar system.
Observations of the interstellar Comet Borisov have been flooding in for six weeks, and the more astronomers duplicate one another's work, the more confident they are in their analysis of the object.
For the first time ever, astronomers have taken the compositional measure of an interstellar interloper.
Astronomers are only now getting the hang of spotting interstellar objects, space debris that fled another solar system to swing through ours.
A comet spotted at the end of August is officially an interstellar object, according to the International Astronomical Union.
Beginning as small, icy bodies on the outskirts of the solar system, comets turn into spectacular streaks of light when they pass through a "gateway" near Jupiter.
We could get an up-close look at our solar system's latest interstellar interloper a quarter century from now if we so desired, a new study suggests.
Astronomers are rushing to study what appears to be the first known interstellar comet — and in some of the very earliest observations, it looks oddly familiar.
Karen Meech wouldn't credit Comet C/2019 Q4 with good timing. But when faced with a chance to study the first known interstellar comet, by golly you take it.
Astronomers took the first multicolor images of a potentially interstellar comet, and it looks spectacular.
At first, it was just another bright, fuzzy speck in the sky. But it may turn out to be something much more exciting: the second known object to hurtle through our solar system after leaving another.
The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) observed a comet diving directly into the sun yesterday (Aug. 15).
Europe's Rosetta spacecraft wasn't the only object circling Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko back in 2015.
Fresh observations of Comet 46P/Wirtanen, which swung by Earth in December 2018, suggest that more of Earth's water came from comets than previous studies suggested.
Recently, a friend of mine asked when we might be able to see a comet. He was surprised when I said there are several visible right now.
Current page: 1