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 Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid