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Tag: comet

Meteor shower to peak Saturday as Earth collides with Halley’s Comet debris

Meteor shower to peak Saturday as Earth collides with Halley’s Comet debris

Science
This weekend will feature the second meteor shower in as many weeks as Earth passes through a trail of debris left behind by one of the most well-known comets in recent history. The annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower will reach its peak on Saturday night into the early morning hours of Sunday, but the number of meteors visible to stargazers will depend on their location around the globe. "This shower happens to be one of, if not the best, showers in the Southern Hemisphere and is a moderate shower for the Northern Hemisphere," AccuWeather astronomy blogger Dave Samuhel said. "From the equator northward, they usually only produce medium rates of 10-30 per hour just before dawn," the International Meteor Organization said on its website. Meanwhile, those south of the equator can expect over ...
Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Ancient comet impact triggered fires, climate change, megafauna extinctions

Science
March 13 (UPI) -- Scientists have uncovered new evidence that a cosmic impact sparked wildfires and triggered a period of global climate change at the end of the Pleistocene epoch some 13,000 years ago. Previously, researchers had only found evidence of the period of climatic change known as the Younger Dryas, or YDB, in the Northern Hemisphere. New findings, however, suggest the Southern Hemisphere also experienced a sudden climatic shift -- and much more. "We have identified the YDB layer at high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere at near 41 degrees south, close to the tip of South America," James Kennett, geology professor emeritus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a news release. Kennett is a proponent of the Younger Dryas Boundary Impact Hypothesis, which pos...
Rosetta illuminates origins of sunrise jets on comet 67P

Rosetta illuminates origins of sunrise jets on comet 67P

Science
May 23 (UPI) -- Thanks to data collected by the Rosetta probe, astronomers are beginning to understand the factors responsible for the formation of sunrise jets, which are unique dust and gas jets emitted by comets. Sunrise jets are narrow strands of gas and dust extending from a comet's surface. They spring to life when a comet moves into the inner solar system and become bathed in sunlight, causing ice to melt and water vapor to envelope the orb. Using data collected by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft, which orbited and observed comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from August 2014 to September 2016, astronomers were able to catalogue the comet's gas and dust emissions. The more than 70,000 images captured by Rosetta's scientific camera system OSIRIS revealed both sudden erup...
NASA considering missions to comet and Saturn's Moon Titan

NASA considering missions to comet and Saturn's Moon Titan

Science
Dec. 20 (UPI) -- NASA is considering possible missions a comet and Titan, Saturn's largest moon. The space agency selected the two concept finalists on Wednesday.The selected missions were two of 12 proposals submitted as part NASA's New Frontiers program."This is a giant leap forward in developing our next bold mission of science discovery," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a news release. "These are tantalizing investigations that seek to answer some of the biggest questions in our solar system today."The Comet Astrobiology Exploration Sample Return mission, or CAESAR concept, proposes a NASA-funded visit to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet visited by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lande...
SOHO spacecraft spots comet 96P, a return visitor

SOHO spacecraft spots comet 96P, a return visitor

Science
Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Comet 96P has returned. The comet as spotted by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory satellite, a joint mission operated by NASA and the European Space Agency.As revealed in a blog post published by NASA on Friday, the comet moved into view of SOHO on Oct. 25 and exited frame on Oct. 30.SOHO was launched in 1996, and though its main task is to study the sun, it's found time over the last two decades to discover some 3,000 comets. Of all those comets, only some are recurring visitors, and 96P is the most frequent guest, having previously made appearances in 1996, 2002, 2007 and 2012.Comet 96P/Machholz was originally spotted on May 12, 1986, by Donald Machholz, an amateur astronomer. Machholz spied the short-period sungrazing comet from Central California's Loma Prieta usin...