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Judi Lynn

(161,361 posts)
Fri Dec 2, 2022, 12:55 PM Dec 2022

Massive eruption from icy volcanic comet detected in solar system

By Harry Baker published about 5 hours ago

Astronomers observed a major eruption from a volcanic comet flying through the solar system, likely spewing more than 1 million tons of debris into space.

An artist's impression of a comet flying through space trailed by twin streams of gas and dust. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

A bizarre, volcanic comet has violently erupted, spewing out more than 1 million tons of gas, ice and the "potential building blocks of life" into the solar system.

The volatile comet, known as 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann (29P), is around 37 miles (60 kilometers) wide and takes around 14.9 years to orbit the sun. 29P is believed to be the most volcanically active comet in the solar system. It is one of around 100 comets, known as "centaurs," that have been pushed from the Kuiper Belt — a ring of icy comets that lurk beyond Neptune — into a closer orbit around the sun between those of Jupiter and Neptune, according to NASA(opens in new tab).

On Nov. 22, an amateur astronomer named Patrick Wiggins noticed that 29P had drastically increased in brightness, according to Spaceweather.com(opens in new tab). Subsequent observations made by other astronomers revealed that this spike in luminosity was the result of a massive volcanic eruption — the second largest seen on 29P in the last 12 years, according to the British Astronomical Association(opens in new tab) (BAA). The largest eruption during this time was a huge outburst in September 2021.

An eruption of this size is "pretty rare," Cai Stoddard-Jones(opens in new tab), a doctoral candidate at Cardiff University in the U.K. who took a follow-up image of 29P's eruption, told Live Scence. "It's [also] difficult to say why this one is so big.".


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Massive eruption from icy volcanic comet detected in solar system (Original Post) Judi Lynn Dec 2022 OP
i didn't know there were volcanoes literally flying through space! GenXer47 Dec 2022 #1
First, sharknados. Now we got cometanos !! What's next? C_U_L8R Dec 2022 #2
Let's hope two things... Hela Dec 2022 #3


(442 posts)
3. Let's hope two things...
Fri Dec 2, 2022, 01:46 PM
Dec 2022

1. That Earth passes through that cometary debris at some point -- I live for the day when I can see a meteor storm like the one of 1833.

2. That it doesn't change that comet's trajectory enough to intersect Earth's orbit in an ELE kind of way.


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