Comets and asteroids

comet tatcher lyrids seti institute f

Situational awareness for potentially hazardous comets last near-Earth as far back as 4 000 years ago

SETI Institute researchers are reporting that they can now detect showers from the debris in the path of comets that pass close to Earth orbit and are known to return as infrequent as once every 4 000 years. "This creates a situational awareness for potentially...

May 21, 2021

kreutz family sungarzer lasco c2 may 10 2021 f

Very bright Kreutz-family Sungrazing comet destroyed by the Sun

A very bright Kreutz-family Sungrazing comet was destroyed by the Sun on May 10, 2021. The object entered the view of the SOHO spacecraft's LASCO C3 instrument early May 8 and C2 on May 10. The object appeared to be tens of meters in diameter, which is fairly...

May 11, 2021

asteroid vesta 2

2018 Botswana Fireball (asteroid 2018 LA) likely a fragment of asteroid Vesta

A large fireball that exploded over Botswana in 2018 (asteroid 2018 LA) likely originated from Vesta, the second-largest object in the asteroid belt, according to an international team of scientists who analyzed fragments recovered after the impact. Vesta is the...

April 24, 2021

comet with own aurora sept 23 2020 2

Unusual ultraviolet aurora spotted around a comet for the first time

ESA's Rosetta mission has revealed that its target comet, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has its own far-ultraviolet aurora. This is the first time such electromagnetic emissions in the far-ultraviolet have been detected on a celestial object, aside from any...

September 23, 2020

triple comet aug 2020 4

Unusual triple comet flies past the Sun

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spotted an unusual object identified as a triple comet flying past the Sun in early August. Although the satellite captures comets all the time-- most of which are Kreutz sungrazers-- the particular object is not a...

August 14, 2020

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Once in a lifetime: Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) shines bright, joins the ISS and noctilucent clouds - observing tips, live show

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) has survived its close encounter with the Sun and is currently observable from the northern hemisphere with the naked eye. To receive this celestial gift, get up before dawn, look to the NNE and see it before the Sun takes over, or wait a...

July 08, 2020

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Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) now seen by naked eye, set to make closest approach to Earth on July 23

Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is set to make its closest approach to Earth on July 23, 2020, when it will pass at a distance of 0.69 AU. Some experienced observers under clear skies have already reported spotting the comet with the naked eye. The comet was discovered on...

July 07, 2020

SOHO 4000 june 15 2020 2

SOHO discovers its 4 000th comet

A citizen scientist from Europe discovered SOHO's 4 000th comet in the spacecraft's 25-year history. SOHO -- Solar and Heliospheric Observatory -- jointly operated by NASA and ESA since 1995. The comet was discovered on June 15, 2020, and is currently...

June 17, 2020

solar orbiter passing through the tail of comet atlas

STEREO-A records Solar Orbiter crossing the ion tail of Comet ATLAS

ESA's Solar Orbiter spacecraft passed through the ion tail of Comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) on May 31 and June 1, 2020, and through its dust tail on June 6. This is the 7th space mission to fly through the tail of a comet, and the first one whose upcoming crossing was...

June 07, 2020

comet may 27 2020

'First-of-its-kind' cross between asteroid and comet discovered near Jupiter's orbit

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy (UH IfA) have spotted a new asteroid with a comet-like tail moving in the same orbit as Jupiter. These objects are usually called Trojan asteroids, but this one was described to be the first one...

May 31, 2020

asteroid ryugu may 16 2020 2

Hayabusa-2 reveals more secrets about the dynamic history of asteroid Ryugu

Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 has reported new observations of Ryugu, revealing more secrets about the object's remarkable history-- particularly signs of a close encounter with the Sun. Hayabusa-2 launched in December 2014 and reached Ryugu in 2018. In...

May 19, 2020

comet swan may 2 2020 damian peach

Powerful outburst from Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN)

Astronomers monitoring Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) spotted a powerful outburst from the comet on May 5. Such outbursts usually indicate a fragmentation, but scientists are hopeful that this could just be a volatile comet. The comet is approaching Earth and the Sun-- its...

May 08, 2020

osiris rex may 6 2020 ft img

OSIRIS-REx succeeds in sampling rehearsal, taking a step closer to asteroid Bennu

NASA's OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) has successfully descended down to just 75 m (246 feet) above the surface asteroid Bennu in a risky rehearsal to prepare the spacecraft before it collects...

May 07, 2020

comet c2020 f8 swan by damian peach f

Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) rapidly brightening, now visible to naked eye

Approaching Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN) has become bright enough that it is already visible to the naked eye. As of 14:30 UTC on April 30, 2020, the comet is 115 million km (71 million miles) away from Earth, with a magnitude of 6.0. The comet appears like a bright fuzz...

April 30, 2020

atlas fragments april 29 2020

Hubble telescope captures comet C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) crumbling into 25 pieces

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the sharpest view of Comet C/2019 Y4 ATLAS disintegrating into pieces. About 30 fragments were identified on April 20, but just three days later on April 23, the telescope spotted only 25. "Their appearance...

April 29, 2020

asteroid 1998 OR2

Large asteroid 1998 OR2 to flyby Earth at 16.36 LD on April 29

A large asteroid designated 1998 OR2 is expected to flyby Earth at 16.36 LD / 0.04205 AU (6.2 million km / 3.9 million miles) at 09:56 UTC on April 29, 2020. 1998 OR2 was discovered at Haleakala in Hawaii on July 24, 1998, by NASA and the Jet Propulsion...

April 26, 2020

interstellar asteroid april 24 2020

First interstellar asteroid population discovered

A new study has identified the first known permanent set of asteroids originating from outside our solar system. These are believed to have been captured from other stars billions of years ago, orbiting the Sun in disguise ever since. The findings came more than two...

April 24, 2020