COBS News archive

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.

New Comet: C/2018 E1 (ATLAS)
March 20, 2018
CBET nr. 4494, issued on 2018, March 16, announces the discovery of an apparently asteroidal object (magnitude ~17) in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program on CCD images obtained with a 0.5-m f/2 Schmidt reflector at Haleakala, Hawaii. Posted on the Minor Planet Center's PCCP webpage, it has been reported as showing cometary activity by CCD astrometrists elsewhere. The new comet has been designated C/2018 E1 (ATLAS).

Interstellar asteroid, 'Oumuamua, likely came from a binary star system
March 20, 2018
New research finds that 'Oumuamua, the rocky object identified as the first confirmed interstellar asteroid, very likely came from a binary star system.

Comet 'Chury's' late birth
March 19, 2018
Comets which consist of two parts, like Chury, can form after a catastrophic collision of larger bodies. Such collisions may have taken place in a later phase of our solar system, which suggests that Chury can be much younger than previously assumed. This is shown through computer simulations by an international research group with the participation of the University of Bern.

Rosetta and Planck honoured in annual Royal Astronomical Society awards
January 15, 2018
ESA’s Matt Taylor has been awarded the 2018 Service Award for Geophysics by the Royal Astronomical Society for his outstanding contribution to the Rosetta mission, while the Planck mission has been honoured with the Group Achievement Award for their extraordinary achievements in cosmology.

NASA's newly renamed Swift Mission spies a comet slowdown
January 11, 2018
NASA's Swift spacecraft, now renamed the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory after the mission's late principal investigator, has detected the most dramatic change in a comet's rotation ever seen.

Arecibo Radar Returns with Asteroid Phaethon Images
January 08, 2018
After several months of downtime since Hurricane Maria struck the island of Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar has returned to normal operation, providing the highest-resolution images to date of near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon during its December 2017 close approach to Earth.

NASA Invests in Concept Development for Missions to Comet, Saturn Moon Titan
January 08, 2018
NASA has selected two finalist concepts for a robotic mission planned to launch in the mid-2020s: a comet sample return mission and a drone-like rotorcraft that would explore potential landing sites on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

Alien object 'Oumuama was a natural body visiting from another solar system
December 20, 2017
Scientists have investigated a mysterious object that passed close to Earth after arriving from deep interstellar space.

New CCD camera and chip keys added
December 20, 2017
New CCD camera and CCD chip keys have been added to the COBS database

NASA telescope studies quirky comet 45P
December 06, 2017
When comet 45P zipped past Earth early in 2017, researchers observing from NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility, or IRTF, in Hawai'i gave the long-time trekker a thorough astronomical checkup. The results help fill in crucial details about ices in Jupiter-family comets and reveal that quirky 45P doesn't quite match any comet studied so far.

Return of the comet: 96P spotted by ESA, NASA satellites
November 06, 2017
Sun-gazing missions SOHO and STEREO watched the return of comet 96P/Machholz when it entered their fields of view between Oct. 25-30. It is extremely rare for comets to be seen simultaneously from two different locations in space, and these are the most comprehensive parallel observations ever taken of this comet.

Small Asteroid or Comet 'Visits' from Beyond the Solar System
October 27, 2017
A small, recently discovered asteroid -- or perhaps a comet -- appears to have originated from outside the solar system, coming from somewhere else in our galaxy. If so, it would be the first "interstellar object" to be observed and confirmed by astronomers.

Scientists detect comets outside our solar system
October 26, 2017
Scientists, working closely with amateur astronomers, have spotted the dusty tails of six exocomets -- comets outside our solar system -- orbiting a faint star 800 light years from Earth.