Articles on Comets

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Is this what we’re seeing around KIC 8462852 - a colossal megastructure built by alien intelligence? Probably not. The reality might be even more interesting. Kevin Gill/Flickr

Whatever the strangest star in the galaxy is, it’s sure to be amazing

There's a lot of speculation about a star behaving strangely in our galaxy. But even if it's not evidence of alien intelligence, it's sure to be an amazing discovery.
There are so many galaxies, you can write with them!

Citizen scientists discover what’s out there

It’s National Science Week and this year the annual citizen science project run by ABC Science is astronomy-themed. No guesses for knowing that I’m excited about that! It’s also a nod to 2015 being the…
A bright fireball over the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, ALMA, in Chile, marks the fiery death of a small grain of space debris, high in the atmosphere. ESO/C. Malin

Explainer: why meteors light up the night sky

Meteors have been seen since people first looked at the night sky. They are comprised of small pieces of debris, typically no larger than a grain of dust or sand, which continually crash into the Earth’s…
Comet Lovejoy on December 13 from the Astronomical Society of Victoria’s Astrophotography Observatory, Heathcote, Victoria. Phil Hart

A Christmas comet to be seen from dark skies

If you are away from the bustle of the city these holidays, then try your luck at spotting a faint comet in the northern sky. Comet Lovejoy C/2014 Q2 is the fifth comet to be discovered by Brisbane amateur…
Rosetta deploys the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?

Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Finding organic compounds on 67P’s surface…
Philae’s first panorama shows a 360 degree view around the point of final touchdown. Superimposed is a sketch of what the lander team believes is Philae’s configuration. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Sleep now for Rosetta’s comet probe after a bouncy landing

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) pioneering Rosetta mission to land on a comet has been wildly successful, but now it appears that part of its aim, the exploration of the surface by the little Philae…
Jumping off a spacecraft. ESA/ATG medialab

Everything you need to know about cometary exploration

Exciting as it is (and it is incredibly exciting), the Rosetta mission is the latest in a history of comet exploration that has added to our knowledge of these icy dirtballs. Comets are usually just a…
Firing harpoons in space. ESA/ATG medialab

Explainer: why Rosetta comet mission is such a big deal

The first attempted landing on the surface of a comet is a huge landmark in the history of space exploration that will not only uncover further details about comets but could unlock further clues about…
Rosetta’s selfie with Comet 67P/Churuymov-Gerasimenko. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

The Rosetta spacecraft ready to send Philae towards its comet

The first ever attempt to land on a comet is set to be carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) this Wednesday evening (AEDT). It is part of an exciting and highly successful space mission, which…
Artist’s impression of exocomets around Beta Pictoris. ESO/L. Calçada

Comet families similar to our own are found around another star

A detailed study of comets orbiting the young nearby star Beta Pictoris is published today in the journal Nature, and it reveals striking similarities to the comets found in our solar system. Over the…

Rosetta’s rendezvous with a comet

After a decade of travelling through space, and years before that of mission planning, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft is right on track to deliver a superb mission. Already it has…
Next, we wait for Philae lander to touch down on the comet. ESA–J. Huart

Relief as Rosetta wakes up, but still we hold our breath

Out of hibernation, Rosetta stirs at last. As one of the scientists involved in the mission, news that the unmanned spacecraft has woken up and restored contact with Earth comes as a great relief. It contains…

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