Sunday, September 10, 2017

SUNDAY SPECIAL - Comets

 This week we would like to discuss about comets and how they can get so close to Earth. With Asteroid Florence just recently passing by the Earth in a close miss, how exactly do these comets and asteroids get so close to Earth in the first place?
 While asteroids are typically found throughout the solar system (but mostly situated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune), comets are actually mostly situated within the Oort Cloud, a giant sphere surrounding the solar system filled with comets and other debris.
 According to a recent study by the Max Planck Institute, comets typically don't travel into the solar system unless nudged gravitationally by the Oort clouds of passing stars. It was found that about every million years, up to two dozen stars pass within a few light-years of the sun, making comets coming near Earth quite common during these times.
 In other words, unless we're super unlucky like the dinosaurs, comets don't enter the inner solar system very often, not even mentioning the probability of one striking Earth. So sit back, relax and instead of freaking out, comet your time to something more fun.
Image: Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) via ESO/Max Planck Institute for Astronomy


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