Tagged With comets

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In two weeks, the European Space Agency will crash-land its prized Rosetta spacecraft, marking a dramatic end to the whirlwind two-year science mission that saw humanity's first-ever comet landing. It will be 48 action-packed hours as Rosetta descends to its ultimate resting place on Comet 67P — and to get you properly excited for that event, we wanted to share the fascinating reason this site was chosen.

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Reminding us of our own fragile mortality, a large, bright comet just streaked across the sky and straight into our nearest neighbouring star. You will absolutely believe what happened next because it has happened to you in a nightmare, admit it.

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If you thought a comet that contains the building blocks of life and creates its own weather couldn't get any more interesting, think again. Scientists finally have a theory as to why comet 67P — also known as Rosetta's comet — has two distinct lobes. It's actually two distinct comets, which break up, orbit one another and smash together again and again for all of cometary eternity. And despite how strange this relationship sounds, it may be a lot more common than we thought.

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Astronomers have captured video evidence of a collision between Jupiter and a small celestial object, likely a comet or asteroid. Though it looks like a small blip of light, the resulting explosion was unusually powerful.

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Scientists have long pondered what lies beneath the surface of comet 67P, but a study out in Nature this week has the answer: dust. Lots and lots of dust. I was hoping for space gremlins, but to planetary scientists this result is almost as exciting.