Comets

“Air temperatures rapidly rose above 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit,” writes study co-author Christopher Moore. “Clothing and wood immediately burst into flames. Swords, spears, mudbricks and pottery began to melt. Almost immediately, the entire city was on fire.”

Ancient City's Destruction by Exploding Space Rock May Have Inspired Biblical Story of Sodom

Around 1650 B.C.E., the Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam was wiped out by a blast 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb used at Hiroshima

People lie on the ground to view the Perseid meteor shower in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado at an astronomy night event on August 12, 2018.

How to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower

Known for its 'fireball' meteors, the Perseid shower began on July 14 and will peak in mid-August

Astronomers used the Keck Observatory in Hawai'i to analyze what chemical building blocks made up the Comet 46/P Wirtanen.

Boozy Comet's Mysterious Heat Source Offers Clues to How Planets Like Earth Obtain Water

The cosmic relic contains minerals from when the solar system first formed and high amounts of methanol

Like the newly-identified 2014 UN271, the NEOWISE comet pictured here is a long-period comet originating in the Oort Cloud.

Giant Comet From the Oort Cloud Will Pass by the Sun in 2031

Astronomers used about 40 observations of the object, which is called 2014 UN271, to estimate its size and orbit

Published in Scientific Reports, the new study by astronomers Amir Siraj and Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, propose that a series of break-ups and chance events sent the huge chunk of space rock our way.

Astrophysicists Chart Source of Asteroid That Killed Dinosaurs

A new model explains a possible route for the extraterrestrial rock before it blasted Earth

In the background, an image taken from the Northern Hemisphere of Comet NEOWISE on July 18, 2020. Inset, the Hubble Space Telescope's most recent snapshot of NEOWISE, taken on August 8 as it careens away from Earth.

Hubble Snapshots Reveal That Comet Neowise Survived Its Trip Around the Sun

A close-up taken in August shows the 11,000-mile-wide cloud of dust and gas that shrouds the comet

Comet NEOWISE pictured in the morning sky on July 7

How to Watch Comet Neowise's Spectacular Show

Until mid-August, the comet will be bright enough to spot with the naked eye

An image of the April 2012 Lyrid meteor shower raining down on Earth, taken from the International Space Station.

How To Watch April’s Lyrid Meteor Shower From Home

Though not as plentiful as the Perseids in summer, the Lyrids can serve up some serious fireballs

An artist's impression of 'Oumuamua, first spotted in 2017.

Scientists Suggest New Origin Story for 'Oumuamua, Our Solar System’s First Interstellar Visitor

Perhaps the cigar-shaped object is a shard from a shredded planetary body, a computer simulation suggests

Airburst from a comet may have destroyed a Paleolithic settlement 12,800 years ago.

A Comet May Have Destroyed This Paleolithic Village 12,800 Years Ago

Fragments of a comet likely hit Earth 12,800 years ago, and a little Paleolithic village in Syria might have suffered the impact

A new type of aurora, called auroral dunes, produces horizontal, undulating stripes of green that resemble mounds of sand on a beach.

A New Type of Aurora Ripples Across the Sky in Horizontal Green ‘Dunes’

Originally observed by citizen scientists, the unusual light show might help researchers better understand a poorly studied layer of the atmosphere

The Quadrantids meteor shower, though fleeting, is famous for its especially bright, colorful "fireballs"

How to Catch the Quadrantids, the First Major Meteor Shower of the 2020s

This cosmic light show will peak in the predawn hours of January 4

Based on the speed and trajectory of a newly detected object, astronomers believe it came to our solar system from beyond. This illustration shows the first known interstellar object to fly though our solar system, 'Oumuamua.

Astronomers Spot a Comet That Likely Came From a Different Solar System

After 'Oumuamua, the newly detected rock is just the second known object to visit from interstellar space

Cool Finds

Scientists Find a Tiny Speck of Comet Inside a Meteorite

The little fragment found in Antarctica was protected from the elements and preserves the chemical signature of the early solar system

A Meteor Struck the Moon During Sunday’s Total Eclipse

It may be the first time that such an event was documented from Earth

An artist’s  conception of a distant Solar System Planet  X, which could be shaping the orbits of smaller extremely distant outer solar system objects like 2015 TG387.

New Discovery Stirs Up Signs of the Elusive Planet 9

A new minor planet called "the Goblin" is the second most distant known object in the solar system

Illustration of Sedna, a minor planet with an unusual orbit.

New Research

Is the Mysterious Planet Nine Just a Swarm of Asteroids?

Researchers investigate alternative explanations for wacky orbits of objects in our solar system

Pluto, and its largest moon Charon, as seen from the New Horizons spacecraft.

Is Pluto Actually a Mash-up of a Billion Comets?

Researchers speculate the beloved dwarf planet could actually be a giant comet

Future of Art

Comet "Snowstorm" Swirling in This Stunning GIF Is a Tricky Illusion

“Things are not quite as they seem," explains astronomer Mark McCaughrean

How to Catch a Glimpse of This Weekend's Lyrid Meteor Shower

Conditions are expected to be favorable, and experts say the shower might produce as many as 18 meteors every hour

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