Feb. 07, 2020

New Comet C/2020 B3 (Rankin)

MPEC 2020-C111, issued on 2020, February 06, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~20) by D. Rankin in the course of the Mt. Lemmon Survey (G96), in images taken on 2020, Jan 29 with a 1.5-m reflector + 10K CCD. The new comet has been designated C/2020 B3 (Rankin).


Feb. 06, 2020

Rosetta and the Chameleon Comet

A grand synthesis of Rosetta data has shown how its target comet repeatedly changed colour dur-ing the two years it was watched by the spacecraft. The chameleon comet's nucleus became progres-sively less red as it made its close pass around the Sun, and then red again as it returned to deep space.


Feb. 06, 2020

ESA starts definition phase for Comet Interceptor

Following an internal assessment of the results of the phase 0 studies, the European Space Agency is moving forward starting the Definition Phase (phase A) for the F-class mission Comet Interceptor.


Jan. 22, 2020

The salt of the comet

Researchers have found an explanation for why very little nitrogen could previously be accounted for in the nebulous covering of comets: the building block for life predominantly occurs in the form of ammonium salts, the occurrence of which could not previously be measured. The salts may be a further indication that comet impacts may have made life on Earth possible in the first place.


Jan. 21, 2020

Building blocks of life spotted on Rosetta's Comet hint at composition of its birthplace

Observations from ESA's Rosetta spacecraft are shedding light on the mysterious make-up of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, revealing a mix of compounds thought to be essential precursors to life – including salts of ammonium and a particular type of hydrocarbons. These new studies suggest the comet gleaned this mate-rial from the presolar cloud where the Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago.


Jan. 20, 2020

Here and gone: Outbound comets are likely of alien origin

Astronomers at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) have analyzed the paths of two objects heading out of the Solar System forever and determined that they also most likely originated from outside of the Solar System. These results improve our understanding of the outer Solar System and beyond.


Jan. 07, 2020

New Comet C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS)

CBET 4708 & MPEC 2020-A72, issued on 2020, January 05, announce the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) in the course of the "Asteroid Terrestrial-Impact Last Alert System" (ATLAS) search program, in images taken on 2019, Dec 16 with a 0.5-m reflector + CCD. The new comet has been designated C/2019 Y1 (ATLAS).


Dec. 13, 2019

Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov swings past the Sun

HUBBLE SNAPS THE BEST CLOSE-UPS YET OF SPEEDY VISITOR FROM THE STARS When astronomers see something in the universe that at first glance seems like one-of-a-kind, it's bound to stir up a lot of excitement and attention. Enter comet 2I/Borisov. This mysterious visitor from the depths of space is the first identified comet to arrive here from another star. We don't know from where or when the comet started heading toward our Sun, but it won't hang around for long. The Sun's gravity is slightly deflecting its trajectory, but can't capture it because of the shape of its orbit and high velocity of about 100,000 miles per hour. Telescopes around the world have been watching the fleeting visitor. Hubble has provided the sharpest views as the comet skirts by our Sun. Since October the space telescope has been following the comet like a sports photographer following horses speeding around a racetrack. Hubble revealed that the heart of the comet, a loose agglomeration of ices and dust particles, is likely no more than about 3,200 feet across, about the length of nine football fields. Though comet Borisov is the first of its kind, no doubt there are many other comet vagabonds out there, plying the space between stars. Astronomers will eagerly be on the lookout for the next mysterious visitor from far beyond.


Oct. 17, 2019

Hubble observes new Interstellar Visitor [HEIC1918]

On 12 October 2019, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope provided astronomers with their best look yet at an interstellar visitor – Comet 2I/Borisov – which is believed to have arrived here from another planetary system elsewhere in our galaxy.


Sep. 27, 2019

Comets orbital elements

Thanks to Gideon Van Buitenen we can now access updated comet orbital elements for planetarium programs.