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Comet ISON update … and a new comet on the block (one that has been hiding from us)

23 November 2013

At http://phys.org/print304107315.html … Comet ISON spreads its wings – two wing like features have appeared resembling the letter U (so we have a tail plus two wings, a threesome). One explanation is that two objects have been detached from the nucleus but all three are proceeding in close formation. Only a week to go to the closest point it reaches to the Sun.

There is a similar story at http://phys.org/print304238278.html … but from a different observatory.

At http://phys.org/print304070897.html … in a bit of research on a newly discovered Near Earth Object, 2013 US10, it turns out not to be your normal space rock, an asteroid, but a latent comet that shows some sign of reigniting into life. In fact, we have a graph of the oribits of three newly found NEOs; US10, UP8, and UQ4 (all 2013). US10 was first categorised as an asteroid – it is now classified as a comet. It was first seen in October, not very long ago. Now, a month later, it is displaying evidence of sparking into life.

At http://phys.org/print304070948.html … the discussion is about red surfaces as found on some asteroids. The consensus theory is that it is caused by cosmic rays kicking up the dusty surface – but as nobody as analysed the actual redness we may take that with a pinch of salt. Nice try – but have another go.

The problem is that meteorites with an origin in asteroids are generally anything but red – why? The inference is that the asteroid themselves are not red but just the surface, and the cosmic ray theory is perhaps as good as any yet developed.

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