Misbehaving Comets

16 Jan 2018

At http://spaceweather.com we have 3 stories on comets currently visible with binoculars (posts dated 10th and 11th January). One concerns a strange blue comet beyond the orbit of Mars - comet Pan Starrs. Active jets of gaseous material are streaming from the comet nucleus and feeding a tail that is full of swirls ...

                                                                                    ... What is happening? Blue denotes cold ionised carbon monoxide flowing in the near vacuum of interplanetary space. Comet Pan Starrs is rich in carbon monoxide - let's hope it doesn't come anywhere near the vicinity of Earth. According to a comet photographer from Austria, out of 850 comets he has clicked there were none that changed their appearance so quickly at such great distances from the Sun. Jets are weaving wildly around the comet nucleus - and layers of gas billow from its tail.

At https://phys.org/print434798137.html ... life on earth and meteorites. Two meteorites that struck the surface of the earth in 1998 preserve the ingredients of life. They contain liquid water and organic compounds such as hydrocarbons and amino acids.