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Coming in June, a Comet That Will Delight 'Star Wars' Fans

The unique shape of Comet 12/P Pons-Brooks resembles the Millennium Falcon

(Newser) - A comet uniquely shaped like Han Solo's ship, the Millennium Falcon, is due to swerve near Earth this spring, and if the weather cooperates, Star Wars fans won't have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to catch a glimpse of it. Per NBC News , Comet 12/P...

You Might Be Able to Spot a Comet This Week

Newly discovered Nishimura would require an early wake-up and good binoculars

(Newser) - A comet that last zipped by our planet around the year 1590 is on its return trip, and it makes its closest approach to Earth on Tuesday, reports EarthSky . Those who hope to catch a glimpse of Comet Nishimura might be able to do so if they rise before dawn...

Scientists Do 180 Away From 'Weird' Theories on 'Oumuamua

They're going back to positing that interstellar visitor was a comet, albeit with gas, dust trapped

(Newser) - Was it an asteroid , a comet , a chunk of a distant planet , or an alien artifact ? All of these possibilities have been floated since the mysterious 'Oumuamua, our first known interstellar visitor, sped through our solar system in 2017. A 2021 study suggested what was previously thought to...

It'll Be Years Before You See Another Comet Like This One

Green comet C/2022 E3 will be best spotted as it passes by Earth this week

(Newser) - A green comet is passing by Earth for the first time since Neanderthals walked the planet and could be spotted by the naked eye. Believed to have been born in the farthest reaches of the solar system in an icy world dubbed the Oort cloud, C/2022 E3 is thought to...

Comet Last Spotted by Neanderthals Might Be Visible Again

C/2022 could be viewable by the naked eye in the right conditions

(Newser) - A comet not spotted since the Upper Paleolithic period could soon be visible to the naked eye again. NASA says the newly discovered comet, named C/2022 E3 (ZTF), will reach its perigee, the closest it will pass by the Earth at 26 million miles away, between Feb. 1 and 2....

Scientists Confirm What's at Heart of This Comet Is Huge

Nucleus of C/2014 UN271 is around 80 miles across and 'blacker than coal'

(Newser) - The biggest comet nucleus ever detected is wider than New Jersey and is hurtling through space at 22,000mph, NASA says. Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed that the nucleus of Comet C/2014 UN271 (Bernardinelli-Bernstein) is 50 times larger than what is at the heart of most comets,...

A Newly Found Comet Is Here
A Newly
Found Comet
Is Here

A Newly Found Comet Is Here

Neowise could be visible into August

(Newser) - A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning show for skywatchers, per the AP . Comet Neowise swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago, and its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail....

'Incredible Hulk' Comet Will Soon Whiz Past Earth

Stargazers' best chance to see the cosmic behemoth on Tuesday and Wednesday

(Newser) - A green comet is set to whiz past Earth this week, but blink and you might miss it. Lucky stargazers who look up Tuesday or Wednesday nights will have the best chance to glimpse the celestial object, dubbed the "Incredible Hulk" for its color and considerable size, notes Sputnik...

Mystery of Our First Interstellar Visitor Solved

Oumuamua was a comet, not an asteroid, scientists say

(Newser) - Last year's visitor from another star system —a cigar-shaped object briefly tumbling through our cosmic neck of the woods—has now been identified as a comet. A European-led team makes the case in Wednesday's edition of the journal Nature, the AP reports. Telescopes first spotted the mysterious...

40-Year-Old Signal From Space Is Finally Explained
40-Year-Old Signal From
Space Is Finally Explained
in case you missed it

40-Year-Old Signal From Space Is Finally Explained

Astronomer says it was 'a natural phenomenon,' not aliens

(Newser) - In 1977, a radio telescope recorded a 72-second signal coming from the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. Stunned, the astronomer who observed it wrote "Wow!" on the readout. Since it couldn't be explained, plenty argued the signal was proof of life beyond our planet. After 40 years,...

Observatory Gives Real-Time View of Doomed Comet

The newly discovered comet is headed straight for the sun

(Newser) - Scientists at the US Naval Research Laboratory discovered a brand-new comet Thursday morning—just in time for it to smash into the sun, CNET reports. It's unclear if the comet will survive long enough to even get a name. The "sungrazing comet"—a poetic name for a...

In Friday's Sky, a Triple Feature
In Friday's Sky,
a Triple Feature

In Friday's Sky, a Triple Feature

Snow moon, eclipse, and a comet will be visible

(Newser) - Consider it a triple feature: Lucky observers who look to the sky Friday night into early Saturday will be treated to a February "snow" moon as well as a lunar eclipse and the flyby of a comet, reports USA Today . As the February full moon crosses through the outer...

Comet to Pass by Earth on New Year's Eve

Comet 45P comes around every five years

(Newser) - While the rest of us are ringing in the New Year with a chambong (that's a beer bong for champagne), the night sky will be welcoming 2017 with a comet. CBS News reports Comet 45P, aka Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, will appear near the crescent moon on Saturday night. The...

New Year's Eve Bonus: a Comet
New Year's Eve
Bonus: a Comet

New Year's Eve Bonus: a Comet

But the naked eye won't be of much use

(Newser) - The night sky is providing a little extra festivity on New Year's Eve: a potential glimpse of a returning comet. USA Today has this explainer on how to see it: "People should point their instruments to the west just after sunset to catch a glimpse of the comet,...

3-2-1—Crash! Rosetta Lands on Comet
A Comet Crash
Landing for
the Ages

A Comet Crash Landing for the Ages

Space probe Rosetta makes final journey onto comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

(Newser) - It took the Rosetta a decade to catch up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and on Friday, the space probe was sent to crash-land on the comet, ending its 12-year mission and giving European Space Agency scientists "emotional closure," the Guardian reports. "Rosetta has been comparable to the moon...

Why Astronomers Named This Comet After a Cat
 Why Astronomers Named 
 This Comet After a Cat 
in case you missed it

Why Astronomers Named This Comet After a Cat

C/2014 S3, now a 'Manx comet,' has no tail

(Newser) - The discovery was so unusual that at first astronomers didn't know what to call it. A comet bearing the official name C/2014 S3 also bore no tail—which isn't just unusual, but the first ever to be observed by humans, reports Reuters . Moreover, it was dark and rocky,...

Finally, an Explanation for Mercury's Dark Surface

Comets didn't carry in the carbon, but rather disrupted what was already there

(Newser) - Mercury's mysterious surface darkness has baffled scientists: Though it's far closer to the sun than our moon, the latter reflects more sunlight. Last year, it was proposed that the root cause is carbon. As Patrick Peplowski of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory tells the Christian Science ...

Why This Year's Taurids May Be Better Than Ever

Taurid's fireballs will be extra-enhanced by lack of full moon, dense debris field

(Newser) - Every year the Earth passes through the debris left behind by Comet Encke, and it's that time of year again, which means just one thing: Get ready for the fireballs. That's what you could see in the night sky over the next week or so as the Taurid...

Comet Is Spewing Out Vast Amounts of Booze

Study suggests building blocks of life arrived on drunk comet

(Newser) - Never mind water on Mars , they've found booze in a comet. Astronomers say they have detected ethyl alcohol among 21 kinds of organic molecules in gas from Comet Lovejoy, meaning the comet has the ingredients both to create life and to get it incredibly drunk. This is the first...

Coming in Jan.: Comet Visible to Naked Eye

Best viewing time for the comet will be mid-January

(Newser) - Comets are basically like cats, a senior researcher at Johns Hopkins University tells the Christian Science Monitor : "They're very interesting, and they do what they want." That may explain that even though scientists didn't think Comet C/2014 Q2 (also known as Comet Lovejoy) would prove to...

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