Articles on Comets

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Comet 46P/Wirtanen captured on November 15 this year using the remote iTelescope (Siding Springs Observatory, Australia). Flickr/Victor R Ruiz

We have a Christmas comet: how to spot 2018’s interplanetary bauble

The comet 46P/Wirtanen is just 1.2km in size but it should be visible in the night sky ths weekend as it makes a close approach to Earth this year. And don't forget the Geminids metor shower.
The 2017 Geminids as seen from Ecuador, against the backdrop of the splendid Milky Way (centre) and the Large Magellanic Cloud (right). Flickr/David Meyer

Look up! Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2018

Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2018. Where to look and when in both the northern and southern skies to catch nature's fireworks.
Patience can be rewarded as with this composite of the 2016 Geminids meteor shower, seen over Mt Teide volcano on the Canary Islands, off Spain. Flickr/StarryEarth

Look up! Your guide to some of the best meteor showers for 2017

2017 is looking to be a spectacular year for meteor showers. So here's what to look out for in both the northern and southern skies.
The discovery of the year was the first detection of gravitational waves. LIGO/T. Pyle

2016: the year in space and astronomy

Colliding black holes to exploding spacecraft, 2016 was an incredible year for astrophysics.
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! writing.galaxyzoo.org/

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…

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