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Comet Reveals Unexpected Secrets

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Observations of a Comet’s First Passage Through the Solar System Reveal Unexpected Secrets


Comets are our most direct link to the earliest stages of the formation and evolution of the solar system.  Only every few years is a new comet discovered that is making its first trip to the inner solar system from the Oort Cloud, a zone of icy objects enveloping the solar system.  Such opportunities offer astronomers a chance to study a special class of comets.

Onboard NASA’s flying telescope, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, a team lead by Charles Woodward of the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics observed Comet C/2012 K1 (also called Pan-STARRS after the observatory that discovered it in 2012), searching for new insights into the evolution of the early solar system.

arrow3.gif  Read More: NASA


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