Science Daily: Comets and Asteroids

Cosmic blast from the past

Three decades ago, a massive stellar explosion sent shockwaves not only through space but also through the astronomical community. SN 1987A was the closest observed supernova to Earth since the invention of the telescope and has become by far the best studied of all time, revolutionizing our understanding of the explosive death of massive stars.

Official naming of surface features on Pluto and its satellites: First step approved

The New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its satellites returned a scientific treasure trove of information about these distant and surprisingly complex worlds, showing a vast nitrogen glacier as well as ice mountains, canyons, cliffs, craters and more. Now the categories for official names have been approved and the name proposals can be submitted by the New Horizons team.

Surprising dunes on comet Chury

Surprising images from the Rosetta spacecraft show the presence of dune-like patterns on the surface of comet Chury. Researchers have studied the available images and modeled the outgassing of vapor to try to explain the phenomenon. They show that the strong pressure difference between the sunlit side of the comet and that in shadow generates winds able to transport grains and form dunes.

Experiments call origin of Earth's iron into question

New research reveals that the Earth's unique iron composition isn't linked to the formation of the planet's core, calling into question a prevailing theory about the events that shaped our planet during its earliest years.

Origin of spooky meteor noises reappraised

Sound travels more slowly than light. Then why do sounds of meteors entering Earth's atmosphere precede or accompany the sight of them? Researchers believe they have an answer.

Why are there different 'flavors' of iron around the Solar System?

New work shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

Hubble spotlights a celestial sidekick

Technically, this picture is merely a sidekick of the actual object of interest -- but space is bursting with activity, and this field of bright celestial bodies offers plenty of interest on its own.

Minor planet named Bernard

A minor planet in the Solar System will officially be known as Bernardbowen from today after Australian citizen science project theSkyNet won a competition to name the celestial body.

Geology of Ceres illuminates origin of organics

NASA's Dawn spacecraft recently detected organic-rich areas on Ceres. Scientists evaluated the geology of the regions to conclude that the organics are most likely native to the dwarf planet. Data from the spacecraft suggest that the interior of Ceres is the source of these organic materials, as opposed to arriving via impacting asteroids or comets, according to a new article.

NASA's OSIRIS-REx takes its first image of Jupiter

This image was taken at 3:38 a.m. EST on Feb. 9, 2017, when the spacecraft was 75 million miles (120 million kilometers) from Earth and 419 million miles (675 million kilometers) from Jupiter. With an exposure time of two seconds, the image renders Jupiter overexposed, but allows for enhanced detection of stars in the background.

Kepler, don't give up on the hunt for exomoons

Researchers have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible for a planetary collision to form a moon large enough for Kepler to detect. Scientists conducted a series of around 30 simulations to explore how various factors affect moon creation.

Dwarf star 200 light years away contains life's building blocks

Many scientists believe the Earth was initially dry and that water, carbon and nitrogen -- the building blocks for life -- likely came as a result of collisions with objects that began their lives in the cold outer reaches of our solar system. Today, scientists report discovery of the existence of just such an object -- one that once orbited a neighboring star.

NASA spacecraft prepares to fly to new heights

NASA's Magnetospheric Multiscale mission begins a three-month long journey into a new orbit, taking it twice as far out as it has previously flown, to areas where magnetic reconnection is thought to trigger auroras.