One of the strangest comets in the solar system has been erupting with unpredictable bright outbursts since late September and nobody knows why.
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 few decades from now, humanity could get an up-close look at a comet blazing to life for the first time.
Scientists have analyzed the enormous Bernardinelli-Bernstein comet, and predict it will come within 11 AU of Earth in the next 10 years.
Reference Comets are icy leftovers from the formation of the solar system. Explore these 'dirty snowballs' in more detail with our comet guide.
The first teaser trailer for "Don't Look Up" has Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio as astronomers hoping to warn Earth of a comet impact.
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein will be a spectacle for more than a decade to come, even though its discovery was a matter of luck.
Comets from other star systems, such as 2019 Borisov, visit the sun's neighborhood more frequently than scientists had thought, a new study suggests.
When scientists first spotted Comet ATLAS last year, they hoped it would be the brightest comet of the decade. Then, the icy hunk unexpectedly fell to pieces.
Spotting the first signs of activity on a record-setting megacomet came down to a time-zone advantage.
A giant comet found far out in the solar system may be 1,000 times more massive than a typical comet, making it potentially the largest ever found in modern times.
A new visitor is swinging by the solar system: a never-before-observed comet that hails from the Oort Cloud.
Meteor showers are the dazzling result of cometary debris building up along well-worn paths through the solar system, then burning up in Earth's atmosphere as our planet crosses that dust trail.
Metal atoms have surprisingly been discovered in the frigid atmosphere of the first known interstellar comet to visit our solar system, a new study finds.
A never-before-seen meteor shower will sprinkle tiny pieces of comet dust over Earth's southernmost regions later this year.
China has selected a Russian science payload to fly on an upcoming mission to sample a near-Earth asteroid and later visit a main-belt comet.