Tech UPTechnologyA very explosive comet

A very explosive comet

estallido-cometaA team of Spanish researchers has discovered that thenewspaper comet29P / Schwassmann security guard 1, with an almost circular orbit around the Sun and passing between Jupiter and Saturn,have outbreaks every 50 days. The origin of this phenomenon is in the small regions of the surface of the comet rich in ice that can sublimate and explode.

After more than three years studying the comet, scientists from the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC), the Astrophysical Institute of the Canary Islands (IAC) and several observatories and universities, have verified that it suffersseven light bursts per year on average, more than double what was thought.

On the surface of the comet, which is at aaverage temperature of 113 degrees Celsius below zero, there are some small regions rich in ice. The researchers suggest that when these areas, due to the rotation of the comet, are exposed to solar radiation, there is a sudden sublimation of the ice, that is, a change from solid matter to the gaseous state. The pressure of the gas causes particles of micrometer size to be entrained, which causes thebursts, capable of increasing the comet’s luminosity more than 100 times.

? These explosions on the comet’s surface producejets of particles expanding from the nucleus to a distance of tens of thousands of kilometers. The dust particles from the comet’s coma create dense curtains that reflect sunlight, so the outbursts are even easily detectable with amateur telescopes ,? explains Josep María Trigo, lead author of the study published in the journalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and researcher at the Institute of Space Sciences (CSIC) and the Institute for Space Studies of Catalonia.

According to Trigo, the detailed study of outbursts in comets provides important clues about the composition, physical behavior and internal structure of these primitive objects. ?They give usclues to its role in the beginning of the Solar System, when it is believed that they produced immense amounts of dust that, when intercepted by terrestrial planets, would enrich the chemical content in the stage prior to the appearance of life?

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