News / Science & Technology

Comets Discovered Around Distant Solar Systems

This view of comet Hartley 2 was taken by NASA's EPOXI mission during its flyby of the comet and was captured by the spacecraft's Medium-Resolution Instrument, November 4, 2010.
This view of comet Hartley 2 was taken by NASA's EPOXI mission during its flyby of the comet and was captured by the spacecraft's Medium-Resolution Instrument, November 4, 2010.
Rosanne Skirble
A team of scientists has discovered six exocomets outside our solar system.

Research astronomer Barry Welsh at the University of California, Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory looks for these comets spinning in elliptical orbits around distant stars, leaving their trademark trails of star-lit gas and debris.  

The icy dirt balls - between just five kilometers and 20 kilometers across - emerge from massive discs of gas and dust around the stars, the raw material for new planets. Welsh said the exocomets are formed from these scraps left over from planet formation.

“This is like the missing link, the missing piece in the puzzle. And it reinforces all the planetary formation theories because all the planetary formation theories say you should end up with left-over comets and left-over big hunks of rock, asteroids, and that sort of thing,” he said.

Comets Discovered Around Distant Solar Systems
Comets Discovered Around Distant Solar Systemsi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

At the American Astronomical Society's meeting in Long Beach, California, Welsh reported that he and his colleagues found spectrographic signatures of the six new exocomets orbiting six very young type-A stars, which are only about 5 million years old.  

Although not all the stars harbor exoplanets, the debris disk means they could be present. Welsh said it suggests that across the universe, exoplanets and exocomets co-exist, as they do in our own solar system. “It looks as though they are quite common things.”

Welsh said that if, as experts theorize, comets could have seeded the primordial earth with organic carbon material and water, then comets also may be the key to life elsewhere in the universe. “If comets are universally distributed around, then you could say that the incidence of life could be higher on other planets than we ever thought.”

Back in our own solar system, comets continue to put on celestial shows for Earth-bound observers. People in the northern hemisphere will be able to see an unusual comet in late November of this year, with the highly anticipated appearance of Comet ISON. The newly-discovered comet is predicted to shine as brightly in the night sky as the full moon.

You May Like

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

Analysts say move by President Xi is an effort to win more party support, take step toward economic reforms, removing those who would stand in way of change More

South Africa Land Reforms Still Contentious 20 Years Later

Activists argue that the pace of land reform is slow and biased; legal experts question how some proposed reforms would be implemented More

In Vietnam, Religious Freedoms Violated, UN Finds

Beliefs reportedly prompt heavy surveillance, intimidation and travel restrictions More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SnowballSolarSystem from: Philadelphia
January 27, 2013 1:34 PM
An alternative hypothesis suggests that planetesimals (comets) may form in binary pairs by gravitational collapse at the barycenter between binary stars and their binary companion stars.

And binary companion stars, binary brown dwarfs and binary planets may form at 1:1 resonant (horseshoe) libration orbits around binary stars. Finally, binary moons may form at 1:1 resonant (horseshoe) libration orbits around binary planets.

Then core collapse causes the (wide-binary) binary companion stars, planets, moons and planetesimals to spiral out by feeding on the energy and angular momentum of their close-binary pairs which spiral in until they merge, forming solitary bodies.

As a binary companion star spirals out from its progenitor star, the binary planetesimals formed at the barycenter (which orbit the progenitor star) also spiral out, but some get trapped in inner or outer resonances of giant planets.

In our own solar system, Proxima (Centauri) at 270,000 AU may be the companion star to our former central binary pair with the solar-system barycenter at 29,600 AU, and the planetesimals formed at the barycenter spiral out until they merge, forming the inner Oort cloud. And the asteroid belt (Jupiter's inner resonances) and Kuiper belt (Neptune's outer resonances) are merely two solar system buckets that trapped these planetesimals, some which collided to form dwarf planets. The other solar system resonances interfere with one another: Jupiter's outer resonances interfere with Saturn's inner resonances and etc. Then our central binary pair merged at 4,567 Ma, forming the chondrules and short-lived isotopes and Proxima's binary pair may have merged at 542 Ma, bringing on the Cambrian Explosion of life.


by: Rob Swift from: Great Britai
January 13, 2013 4:08 PM
The missing link, what we are all waiting for, is yet to be found. ( in deep space. )

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid