Comets and Science

13 November 2013

The previous post may have been angled to show people in the Middle Ages were irrational when it comes to comets, in comparison with the view of science in the 21st century. At … we learn that Comet ISON is a fossil from the far reaches of the solar system, which will shortly accomplish its passage around the Sun prior to heading back out again to the fossil fields of the Oort Cloud. As it comes closer to the Sun it will be picked up by the STEREO twin probes which monitor the Sun and how it affects space weather. It has already gone past Mars and on the 28th November will be much nearer the Sun – ready to do the hot and skip known as sun grazing.

Max Planck researchers have a slightly different agenda. They hope to discover ISONs organic composition. Does it possess methanol, ammonia and formaldehyde, among other goodies including the building blocks of life. Comets may have introduced a variety of ingredients to Earth. Lots of expectations are riding on ISON.

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