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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).