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 Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs