COBS News archive

Roseta finds comet plume powered from deep below
October 26, 2017
Last year, a fountain of dust was spotted streaming from Rosetta's comet, prompting the question: how was it powered? Scientists now suggest the outburst was driven from inside the comet, perhaps released from ancient gas vents or pockets of hidden ice.

Comet mission reveals 'missing link' in our understanding of planet formation
October 25, 2017
The missing link in our understanding of planet formation has been revealed by the first ever spacecraft to orbit and land on a comet, say scientists.

ALMA and Rosetta detect Freon-40 in space
October 03, 2017
Observations made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and ESA's Rosetta mission, have revealed the presence of the organohalogen Freon-40 in gas around both an infant star and a comet. Organohalogens are formed by organic processes on Earth, but this is the first ever detection of them in interstellar space. This discovery suggests that organohalogens may not be as good markers of life as had been hoped, but that they may be significant components of the material from which planets form.

Unexpected surprise: A final image from Rosetta
October 02, 2017
Scientists analysing the final telemetry sent by Rosetta immediately before it shut down on the surface of the comet last year have reconstructed one last image of its touchdown site.

Farthest active inbound comet yet seen
September 29, 2017
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the farthest active inbound comet ever seen, at a whopping distance of 1.5 billion miles from the Sun (beyond Saturn's orbit). Slightly warmed by the remote Sun, it has already begun to develop an 80,000-mile-wide fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, enveloping a tiny, solid nucleus of frozen gas and dust. These observations represent the earliest signs of activity ever seen from a comet entering the solar system's planetary zone for the first time.

Unique type of object discovered in our solar system
September 21, 2017
Astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet.

The return of the comet-like exoplanet
September 15, 2017
Astronomers have focused the Hubble Space Telescope on an exoplanet that had already been seen losing its atmosphere, which forms an enormous cloud of hydrogen, giving the planet the appearance of a giant comet. During earlier observations, it was not possible to cover the whole cloud, whose shape was predicted by numerical simulations. Thanks to these new observations, the scientists have finally been able to confirm the initial predictions.

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).