COBS News archive

Does the organic material of comets predate our solar system?
September 12, 2017
The Rosetta space probe discovered a large amount of organic material in the nucleus of comet 'Chury.' Researchers now advance the theory that this matter has its origin in interstellar space and predates the birth of the solar system.

Large, distant comets more common than previously thought
July 26, 2017
There are about seven times more long-period comets measuring at least 1 kilometer across than previously predicted, suggests new research. The researchers also found that long-period comets are, on average, nearly twice as large as 'Jupiter family' comets, whose orbits are shaped by Jupiter's gravity and have periods of less than 20 years.

Bizarro comet challenging researchers
July 07, 2017
Scientists pursue research through observation, experimentation and modeling. They strive for all of these pieces to fit together, but sometimes finding the unexpected is even more exciting. That's what happened recently to a researcher who studies comets, asteroids and planetary formation and was part of a team that published a study focused on the comet 174P/Echeclus. It didn't behave the way the team was expecting.

New tool for CCD photometry - tutorial
June 27, 2017
CCD photometry of comet still remains as a very difficult work, especially for most wanted total coma magnitudes, compatible with visual observations. Also the usual problem is creating of proper ICQ coded line of observation. To help observers with this, I programmed an application - tool for comet observers, which is now in testing - beta phase.

New Comet: C/2017 K4 (ATLAS)
June 06, 2017
CBET nr. 4397, issued on 2017, June 01, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) by the "Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) Team on CCD exposures taken on May 26.5 with the ATLAS 0.5-m f/2.0 Schmidt telescope at Haleakala. The new comet has been designated C/2017 K4 (ATLAS).

COBS maintenance downtime 17.05.2017!
May 12, 2017
Due to a COBS servers system upgrade, we will have some website downtime on Wednesday 17.05.2017.

Close Approach Comets
April 22, 2017
Comets are some of the most interesting objects in the solar system. Water that filled the ancient oceans of Earth might have been delivered by comets. And there is growing evidence that many comets (as well as some primitive asteroids) contain molecules key to life. NASA has sent space probes to travel hundreds of millions of miles to study these icy interlopers from the outer solar system.

Comet 67P full of surprises: Growing fractures, collapsing cliffs and rolling boulders
March 27, 2017
Images returned from the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission indicate the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was a very active place during its most recent trip through the solar system, says a new study.

New CCD photometry software keys added
March 09, 2017
COBS now includes the option to select Astrometrica version 4.10 and comphot photometry software when submitting CCD observations.

Bright outburst of Comet 73P fragment
February 12, 2017
Thierry Noel has reported that Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann is showing a second component in images taken remotely from Chile (Observers: A. Maury, B. Sandness, T. Noel). Follow-up images taken by Andre Debackere using the Las Cumbres Observatory 1.0-m telescope at Siding Spring, Australia and measured by Richard Miles show that the main comet is accompanied by a much brighter secondary component surrounded by a faint coma.

Massive comet-like object pollutes atmosphere of a white dwarf
February 10, 2017
For the first time, scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have witnessed a massive object with the makeup of a comet being ripped apart and scattered in the atmosphere of a white dwarf, the burned-out remains of a compact star. The object has a chemical composition similar to Halley's Comet, but it is 100,000 times more massive and has a much higher amount of water. It is also rich in the elements essential for life, including nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, and sulfur.

Micro spacecraft investigates cometary water mystery
January 30, 2017
In September 2015, a team of astronomers successfully observed the entire hydrogen coma of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, using the LAICA telescope onboard the PROCYON spacecraft. They also succeeded in obtaining the absolute rate of water discharge from the comet. Through our observations, we were able to test the coma models for the comet for the first time. This result is the first scientific achievement by a micro spacecraft for deep space exploration.

New Comet: C/2017 A3 (Elenin)
January 12, 2017
CBET nr. 4344, issued on 2017, January 11, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18.2) by L. Elenin on three CCD images obtained with 0.4-m f/2.4 reflector + CCD at the ISON-SSO Observatory at Siding Spring on Jan. 5.4 UT. The new comet has been designated C/2017 A3 (Elenin).

Hubble detects 'exocomets' taking the plunge into a young star
January 09, 2017
Interstellar forecast for a nearby star: Raining comets! NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered comets plunging onto the star HD 172555, which is a youthful 23 million years old and resides 95 light-years from Earth.

Relationships between chemicals found on comets
December 05, 2016
A new study has revealed similarities and relationships between certain types of chemicals found on 30 different comets, which vary widely in their overall composition compared to one another. The research is part of ongoing investigations into these primordial bodies, which contain material largely unchanged from the birth of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago.

Comet Chury is much younger than previously thought
November 12, 2016
Based on computer simulations, Astrophysicists at the University of Bern, Switzerland, conclude that the comet Chury did not obtain its duck-like form during the formation of our solar system 4.5 billion years ago. Although it does contain primordial material, they are able to show that the comet in its present form is hardly more than a billion years old.

Astronomers predict possible birthplace of Rosetta-probed comet 67P
October 19, 2016
When the Rosetta spacecraft successfully touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on September 30, 2016, the news was shared globally via Twitter in dozens of languages. Citizens the world over were engaged by the astronomical achievement, and now experts are eager to learn as much as possible about the critically important celestial body of ice.

Klim Churyumov (1937-2016)
October 18, 2016
We were saddened to learn the news yesterday that Klim Churyumov, who discovered Rosetta's comet together with Svetlana Gerasimenko in 1969, has passed away.

A note to CCD observers - kphot review
October 16, 2016
It’s been several years that a new method of processing CCD observations was announced by german astronomer Uwe Pilz. The method was a promising way for amateur astronomers, to generate a visual equivalent magnitude using a CCD measures with a very simple way of processing. Now after several years, there were several observers which were using this method, one of most active was Kevin Hills from United Kingdom. The huge amount of his observations made possible a deep comparative analysis of this method with visual and classic CCD magnitudes.

CometWatch from Kepler
October 08, 2016
During the last month of Rosetta's operations at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it was no longer possible to observe the comet with telescopes on Earth because it was not far from the Sun's position in the sky and therefore not visible in the night-time. Fortunately, NASA's Kepler space observatory stepped in, taking images of the comet every 30 minutes from 7 to 20 September, providing important context to Rosetta's in situ measurements.