Comet News

NEOWISE Mission Spots One Comet, Maybe Two

January 3, 2017

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NASA's NEOWISE Mission Spots Comet 2016 WF9

NASA’s NEOWISE mission has discovered some celestial objects traveling through our neighborhood, including one on the blurry line between asteroid and comet. An object called 2016 WF9 was detected by the NEOWISE project on November 27, 2016. It’s in an orbit that takes it on a scenic tour of our solar system. At its farthest […]

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Rosetta’s Final Descent Images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

September 30, 2016

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Final Descent Images from Rosetta Spacecraft

These newly released images are the last taken by ESA’s Rosetta Spacecraft shortly before its controlled impact into the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. A new image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft shortly before its controlled impact into the comet’s surface on September 30th, 2016. Confirmation of the end of […]

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Hubble Views Cosmic Fragments of Comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami

September 19, 2016

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Hubble Views Comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami

This newly released Hubble image shows comet 332P/Ikeya-Murakami. This intriguing new image captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a dust-bathed cluster of fragments from a disintegrated comet. The comet in question, named 332P/Ikeya-Murakami, split into this shower of fragments in the closing months of 2015. Fragmenting comets such as 332P/Ikeya-Murakami have long been […]

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Astronomers Identify Greenhouse Gases in Comets

November 24, 2015

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Greenhouse Gases Discovered in Comets

Using data from the NEOWISE Space Telescope, astronomers have gained new insights into the dust and production rates for difficult-to-observe gases like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in comets. After its launch in 2009, NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft observed 163 comets during the WISE/NEOWISE prime mission. This sample from the space telescope represents the largest infrared […]

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“Skull Shaped” Asteroid 2015 TB145 Will Flyby Earth This Halloween

October 31, 2015

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Asteroid 2015 TB145

Just in time for Halloween, a large space rock that bears an eerie resemblance to a skull will zip past Earth this weekend. Scientists observing asteroid 2015 TB145 with NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have determined that the celestial object is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its […]

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Harvard Astronomers Discover NEOs That Are Dormant, Short-Period Comets

October 10, 2015

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Astronomers Discover NEOs That Are Dormant, Short-Period Comets

In a new study, scientists from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics reveal that between about 0.3 and 3% of the moderately bright NEOs are actually likely to be dormant, short-term period comets. Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are asteroids or comets whose orbits sometimes bring them close to the Earth, thereby posing a potentially threat. The […]

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NASA Comet Hitchhiker Would Take Tour of Small Asteroids and Comets

September 2, 2015

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NASA Comet Hitchhiker

Comet Hitchhiker is in Phase I study through the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program. Its goal is to use the kinetic energy of comets and asteroids to get into orbit and land on them. Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn’t easy. You have to figure out how to land your […]

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Rosetta Views Comet 67P Making Its Closest Approach to the Sun

August 17, 2015

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Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko Makes Its Closest Approach to the Sun

ESA’s Rosetta Spacecraft views Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko making its closest approach to the Sun, coming within 186 million km of the Sun. In the year that has passed since Rosetta arrived, the comet has traveled some 750 million kilometers along its orbit towards the Sun, the increasing solar radiation heating up the nucleus and causing its […]

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Rosetta Spacecraft Views an Outburst from Comet 67P

August 12, 2015

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Outburst from Comet 67P Viewed by Rosetta

A new set of images from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft shows a short-lived outburst from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft has been witnessing growing activity from comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as the comet approaches perihelion (its closest point to the sun during its orbit). On July 29, while the spacecraft orbited at […]

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Rosetta Monitors Active Pits on Comet 67P

July 1, 2015

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Active Pits on Comet 67P

A newly published study reveals that 18 quasi-circular pits in the northern hemisphere of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s are responsible for its halo of dust and gas. A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ […]

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Rosetta Uncovers Unexpected Processes at Work in Comet’s Coma

June 3, 2015

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Rosetta Discovers Comet Atmosphere

Rosetta’s continued study of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has revealed an unexpected process at work that causes the rapid breakup of water and carbon dioxide molecules spewing from the comet’s surface. Data collected by NASA’s Alice instrument aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft reveal that electrons close to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — not photons […]

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Rosetta and Philae Reveal That Comet 67P is Not Magnetized

April 14, 2015

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Investigating Magnetic Properties of Comet 67P

New data from Rosetta and Philae reveal that the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is not magnetized. Studying the properties of a comet can provide clues to the role that magnetic fields played in the formation of Solar System bodies almost 4.6 billion years ago. The infant Solar System was once nothing more than a swirling […]

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An Unusual Comet Skimmed Past the Sun

February 25, 2015

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SOHO Sees New Comet

A new comet was discovered sling-shotting around the sun by ESA/NASA’s SOHO. The comet is not from any known family of comets. An comet circles around the sun in this movie from ESA/NASA’s SOHO. The comet is somewhat unusual as it’s not form any known family of comets. This is the 2,875th comet discovered by […]

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A Closer Look at the Icy Conditions of Comets

February 11, 2015

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Study-Helps-Explain-Comet-Composition

New research from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory used a cryostat instrument, nicknamed “Himalaya,” to study the icy conditions under which comets form. Astronomers tinkering with ice and organics in the lab may have discovered why comets are encased in a hard, outer crust. Using an icebox-like instrument nicknamed Himalaya, the researchers show that fluffy ice […]

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Research Shows a Significant Increase in the Amount of Water “Pouring” Out of Comet 67P

January 26, 2015

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Rosetta Comet Pouring More Water Into Space

Data from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft revelas that there has been a significant increase in the amount of water “pouring” out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet on which the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander touched down in November 2014. There has been a significant increase in the amount of water “pouring” out of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet […]

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NEOWISE: One Year of Observations Mapped

January 16, 2015

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NEOWISE Year in Review 2014

NASA reviews the past 12 months of NEOWISE discoveries with a short video that shows the progression of the NEOWISE survey in the year after its December 2013 restart. NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft discovered and characterized 40 near-Earth objects (NEOs) in the first year after the mission was re-started in December […]

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Rosetta Data Reignite Debate on the Origin of Earth’s Oceans

December 11, 2014

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New Research Reignites Debate on Earth's Oceans

The Rosetta spacecraft has discovered that the composition of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s water vapor is significantly different from that found on Earth, reigniting the debate on the origin of Earth’s oceans. The question about the origin of oceans on Earth is one of the most important questions with respect to the formation of our planet and […]

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Space Agencies Across the Globe Prepare to Explore Comets and Asteroids

December 5, 2014

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Exploring Comets and Asteroids

With Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s recent launch of the Hayabusa2 mission, NASA and other space agencies across the globe are opening up new possibilities for space exploration with missions to comets, asteroids, and other celestial bodies. Following NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) spacecraft observations of the close flyby of […]

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