COBS News archive

New Comet C/2018 V1 (Machholz-Fujikawa-Iwamoto)
November 12, 2018
CBET 4569 (issued on 2018, November 08) and MPEC 2018-V151 (2018, November 11), announce the discovery of a 10th-magnitude comet by Donald E. Machholz (Colfax, CA, U.S.A) and independently by Shigehisa Fujikawa (Kan'onji, Kagawa, Japan) and Masayuki Iwamoto (Awa, Tokushima, Japan).

Comet tails blowing in the solar wind
November 04, 2018
Combined observations of Comet McNaught -- one of the brightest comets visible from Earth in the past 50 years -- have revealed new insights on the nature of comets and their relationship with the Sun.

Secret shared by comets and sand crabs
October 26, 2018
Researchers have found a mechanical connection between sand crab burrow widths and widths of cometary pits using a simple granular experiment.

Comet landscape
October 03, 2018
On 30 September 2016, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft came closer than ever to the target it had studied from afar for more than two years, concluding its mission with a controlled impact onto the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G).

Gaia finds candidates for interstellar ‘Oumuamua’s home
September 26, 2018
Using data from ESA’s Gaia stellar surveyor, astronomers have identified four stars that are possible places of origin of ‘Oumuamua, an interstellar object spotted during a brief visit to our Solar System in 2017.

Observation Alert: Extremely bright mag 12.2 outburst of Comet 29P
September 24, 2018
A second outburst of 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann has taken place on 2018 09 23.2 +/-0.1 which has raised its brightness from r mag 13.2 to 12.2. This new outburst occurred 2.6 +/-0.2 days after this first event and its current brightness makes it one of the four most intense outbursts in 8 years.

The Comet Observation Database - Structure and content (EPSC 2018-632, Berlin 2018)
September 10, 2018

The Comet Observation Database (COBS) [1, 2] is a unique web service that enables comet observers to submit, display and analyse comet data in a single location. The service currently represents one of the largest databases of comet observations (containing more than 235,000 observations) and is available to comet observers worldwide.

The Comet Observation Database - Observer tools and case study (EPSC2018-644, Berlin 2018)
September 10, 2018

This paper introduces the main functionality of the COBS database [1, 2] that is of interest to a comet observer, with application to C/2004 R2 (Machholz).

Green comet makes closest approach to earth
September 09, 2018
On Sept. 10th, Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner ("21P" for short) will make its closest approach to Earth in 72 years--only 58 million km from our planet. This small but active comet is easy to see in small telescopes and binoculars as it shines like a 7th magnitude star. Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria, sends this photo of 21P passing through the stars of Auriga on Sept. 7th.

A Green Comet Approaches Earth
August 25, 2018
Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner is approaching Earth. On Sept. 10th, it will be 0.39 AU (58 million km) from our planet and almost bright enough to see with the naked eye. Already it is an easy target for backyard telescopes.

The cautionary tail of Comet Swift–Tuttle
August 10, 2018
Comet Swift–Tuttle, formally 109P/Swift–Tuttle, is an enormous, icy comet on a 133 year orbit around the Sun, and the reason for the spectacular annual Perseids meteor showers on Earth.

New Comet: C/2018 N2 (ASASSN)
July 18, 2018
MPEC 2018-O01, issued on 2018, July 16, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~16.1) in the course of the "All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae" (ASASSN) program, in images taken 2018 July 7-11 with the 14-cm "Cassius" survey telescope at Cerro Tololo. The new comet has been designated C/2018 N2 (ASASSN).

Molecular oxygen in comet's atmosphere not created on its surface
July 09, 2018
Scientists have found that molecular oxygen around comet 67P is not produced on its surface, as some suggested, but may be from its body.

Chasing 'Oumuamua
June 29, 2018
The interstellar object 'Oumuamua perplexed scientists in October 2017 as it whipped past Earth at an unusually high speed. This mysterious visitor is the first object ever seen in our solar system that is known to have originated elsewhere.

Our Solar System's First Known Interstellar Object Gets Unexpected Speed Boost
June 29, 2018
Using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based observatories, an international team of scientists has confirmed 'Oumuamua (oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah), the first known interstellar object to travel through our solar system, got an unexpected boost in speed and shift in trajectory as it passed through the inner solar system last year.

`Oumuamua gets a boost
June 29, 2018
`Oumuamua, the first interstellar object discovered in the Solar System, is moving away from the Sun faster than expected. This anomalous behavior was detected by a worldwide astronomical collaboration. The new results suggest that `Oumuamua is most likely an interstellar comet and not an asteroid.

Interstellar asteroid is really a comet
June 29, 2018
An object from another star system that made a brief appearance in our skies guised as an asteroid turns out to be a tiny interstellar comet.

Rosetta image archive complete
June 22, 2018
All high-resolution images and the underpinning data from Rosetta’s pioneering mission at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are now available in ESA’s archives, with the last release including the iconic images of finding lander Philae, and Rosetta’s final descent to the comet’s surface.

What interstellar visitor 'Oumuamua can teach us
March 28, 2018
The first interstellar object ever seen in our solar system, named 'Oumuamua, is giving scientists a fresh perspective on the development of planetary systems. A new study by a team including astrophysicists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, calculated how this visitor from outside our solar system fits into what we know about how planets, asteroids and comets form.

A star disturbed the comets of the solar system 70,000 years ago
March 21, 2018
About 70,000 years ago, a small reddish star approached our solar system and gravitationally disturbed comets and asteroids. Astronomers from the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge have verified that the movement of some of these objects is still marked by that stellar encounter.