Latest Antitail Stories

comet Catalina
2014-07-24 03:00:33

Elizabeth Landau, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Comet C/2013 UQ4 (Catalina) has been observed by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft just one day after passing through its closest approach to the sun. The comet glows brightly in infrared wavelengths, with a dust tail streaking more than 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across the sky. Its spectacular activity is driven by the vaporization of ice that has been preserved from the time of planet...

2010-04-13 07:25:00

British scientists have identified a new candidate for the biggest comet measured to date. Dr Geraint Jones of UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory will be presenting the results at the RAS National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow on Tuesday April 13th. Instead of using the length of the tail to measure the scale of the comet, the group has used data from the ESA/NASA Ulysses spacecraft to gauge the size of the region of space disturbed by the comet's presence. Analysis of magnetometer data...

2009-09-16 05:20:00

Astronomers from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Hawaii have discovered multiple fragments ejected during the largest cometary outburst ever witnessed. Images and animations showing fragments rapidly flying away from the nucleus of comet 17P/Holmes will be presented by Rachel Stevenson at the European Planetary Science Congress in Potsdam, Germany, on Wednesday September 16. Stevenson, together with colleagues Jan Kleyna and David Jewitt, began observing comet...

2009-02-04 13:50:00

In 1996, a 7-year-old boy in China bent over the eyepiece of a small telescope and saw something that would change his life--a comet of flamboyant beauty, bright and puffy with an active tail. At first he thought he himself had discovered it, but no, he learned, two men named "Hale" and "Bopp" had beat him to it. Mastering his disappointment, young Quanzhi Ye resolved to find his own comet one day. And one day, he did. Fast forward to a summer afternoon in July 2007. Ye, now 19 years old and...

2008-12-03 17:30:00

NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Explorer satellite rocketed into space in 2004 on a mission to study some of the highest-energy events in the universe. The spacecraft has detected more than 380 gamma-ray bursts, fleeting flares that likely signal the birth of a black hole in the distant universe. In that time, Swift also has observed 80 exploding stars and studied six comets.Comets? ... Comets are "dirty snowballs" made of frozen gases mixed with dust. X-rays come from superhot plasmas. What do cold...

2007-08-22 12:45:00

Observational and theoretical studies of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the target of ESA's Rosetta mission, are building a detailed portrait of the comet's nucleus as it travels around the Sun. Observations of the comet using the 8.2 m-ESO Very Large Telescope (VLT) show an irregularly-shaped object that is about 4.6 kilometres in diameter with a rotational period of 12 hours 49 minutes.  Ms Cecilia Tubiana, who will be presenting results at the second European Planetary Science...

2007-02-24 09:35:35

Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, has been delighting those who have seen it with the unaided eye as a spectacular display in the evening sky. Pushing ESO's New Technology Telescope to its limits, a team of European astronomers have obtained the first, and possibly unique, detailed observations of this object. Their images show spectacular jets of gas from the comet spiralling several thousands of kilometres into space, while the spectra reveal the presence of sodium in its...

2007-01-11 11:15:59

Recently, sky watchers in the Northern Hemisphere have been enjoying the sight of Comet McNaught in the twilight sky. Now, solar physicists using the ESA-NASA SOHO spacecraft are getting ready for their view. For four days in January, the comet will pass through SOHO's line of sight and could be the brightest comet SOHO has ever seen. As Comet McNaught heads towards its closest approach to the Sun on 12 January 2007, it will disappear from view for earthbound observers, becoming lost in the...

2005-01-12 08:15:00

JPL -- When our solar system was young, its biggest babies -- Jupiter and Saturn -- threw tantrums by the trillion. The huge planets hurled ice-covered rocky bodies from the inner solar system far past the orbit of Pluto. Some of those bodies revisit their old neighborhood as "long period" comets, which have been called the Rosetta Stone of the solar system because their pristine composition holds the key to understanding how Earth and similar planets formed. Astrophysicists from the...

2005-01-07 07:50:00

On Friday night, January 7th, Comet Machholz visits the Pleiades. Science@NASA -- A cloud of gas bigger than the planet Jupiter, glowing alien green, is about to sweep past the Seven Sisters in Taurus. Got binoculars? You can watch it happen. Step outside on Friday night, January 7th, between 9 and 10 o'clock, and face south. There's Orion the Hunter locked in combat with Taurus the Bull. The star patterns are unmistakable. Just above them hovers a delicate little dipper -- the Seven...

Word of the Day
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'