Comets and asteroids

Asteroid 2013 TX69 to safely pass Earth on March 5

2013 TX68, the small asteroid that flew by our planet two years ago is now coming back again for another flyby on March 5, 2016. This time, the asteroid might make a much closer pass though still at a safe distance. Two years ago, 2013 TX68 flew by Earth at a...

February 04, 2016

NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office to detect and monitor potentially hazardous NEOs

NASA's program for detecting and tracking near-Earth objects (NEOs) has now been formally established and named the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO). Its responsibility will be supervising projects oriented towards finding and characterizing...

January 12, 2016

Asteroid 2003 SD220 to flyby Earth on Christmas Eve

The year 2015 seems to have another festive surprise in store for astronomy lovers across the globe. After the Halloween asteroid's close flyby in October, another object will pass by our planet on Christmas Eve. Asteroid 2003 SD220 will fly by Earth at a safe...

December 24, 2015

Giant comets pose a much greater hazard to life than asteroids

The discovery of hundreds of giant comets in the outer planetary system over the last two decades means that these objects pose a much greater hazard to life than asteroids, a team of astronomers from Armagh Observatory and the University of Buckingham report. The...

December 22, 2015

The closest images ever of a distant Kuiper Belt object - 1994 JR1

There is a region of space filled with comets beyond the gas giant Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt. This expanse holds trillions of objects - remnants of the early Solar System - and NASA's New Horizons spacecraft recently took the closest images of one of...

December 08, 2015

Small asteroid makes a close Earth flyby at 0.09 LD

A small asteroid discovered on November 14, 2015, made a close flyby to Earth only a couple of hours after it was observed. The asteroid named 2015 VY105 came as close to our planet as an average geostationary satellite. However, good news is that 2015 VY105 was so...

November 16, 2015

New radar images of the 'spooky' 2015 TB145 asteroid

The 'spooky' 2015 TB145 asteroid has made a safe pass trough Earth's neigborhood on October 31, 2015, and scientist were able to obtain new high resolution radar images of its surface, quite distinct to the first images provided by the Arecibo radar on...

November 05, 2015

Rosetta detects large amounts of pure oxygen emitting from Comet 67P

Researchers led by Andre Bieler from the University of Michigan have found a large amount of molecular oxygen (O2) is being released by the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Pure molecular oxygen is extremely rare in the universe and this discovery has...

October 30, 2015

Comet Lovejoy lives up to its name, releases alcohol and sugar into space

A group of researchers have found that comet Lovejoy is emitting ethyl alcohol and sugar as it traverses through space. Their discovery adds evidence to the theory that comets may have "seeded" Earth with complex organic molecules which led to the...

October 28, 2015

Halloween treat: Asteroid 2015 TB145 to flyby Earth at 1.3 LD on October 31

The newly discovered asteroid 2015 TB145 will flyby our planet at the closest approach distance of about 1.3 lunar distances at 17:05 UTC on October 31, 2015. NASA's scientists are closely monitoring the asteroid, dubbed the 'Halloween asteroid', with...

October 27, 2015

Halloween 2015 for skywatchers: Newly discovered asteroid makes close approach to Earth

NASA's scientists discovered a new asteroid on October 10, 2015, using the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) mounted on Mount Haleakala, Hawai'i. Asteroid was named 2015 TB145, and is expected to make the closest approach to...

October 20, 2015

Comet 67P's mysterious form

The team behind The ThunderBolts Project has started a new series of reports that will discuss the latest scientific papers on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission to comet 67P. In addition to countless unresolved puzzles facing comet scientists, they...

October 19, 2015

Rosetta gathers data from the south pole of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Several months after the arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) in August 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft has finally managed to observe and characterize comet's southern polar regions. The only instrument that was able to study this dark region of...

October 02, 2015

SOHO discovers its 3000th comet

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) detected its 3000th comet on September 13, 2015. The newest discovery confirmed SOHO's reputation for being the greatest comet finder in the history so far.SOHO is a joint project of the European Space Agency and NASA on

September 15, 2015

First Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert system (ATLAS) fully operational

The first Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescope is now in operation on Haleakala volcano, on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The telescope is a part of an asteroid impact early system project that was developed by the University of Hawai'i and

August 15, 2015

Powerful outburst event observed at Comet 67P two weeks before the perihelion

On July 29, 2015, Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera captured images showing a dramatic outburst at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, registered by several of its instruments from their vantage point 186 km (115 miles) from the comet.As forecasted, the comet reaches

August 13, 2015

Rosetta's one year at the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

With comet 67P’s closest approach to the Sun less than one week away, ESA’s unmanned spacecraft Rosetta celebrated one year at the comet on August 6, 2015.After a 10-year chase spanning more than 6.4 billion km (4 billion miles) across the Solar System, the

August 08, 2015

Rosetta mission conference - update, latest results and what lies ahead

The following video is a replay of media briefing held at the Paris Air Show on June 17, 2015 with members of the Rosetta team. The briefing includes an update on the mission, some of the latest results, and an outline what still lies ahead. ESA’s Rosetta comet-ch

June 17, 2015

The electrochemistry of Comets with Dr. Franklin Anariba

It is a great paradox in comet science: We are told that a comet nucleus is a ball of ice, or dirty snowball, or icy fluff ball that accreted billions of year ago in the solar system’s infancy. Comets are said to sublimate ices as they move toward the sun, and

April 01, 2015

Asteroid 2014 YB35 to safely flyby Earth on Friday, March 27, 2015

A large asteroid named 2014 YB35 will flyby Earth at a safe distance of 11.6 LD (lunar distances) or about 4.45 million km (2.7 million miles) at 06:20 UTC on Friday, March 27, 2015. This asteroid is approximately 440 - 990 meters in diameter and is traveling at a relat

March 26, 2015

Rosetta makes first detection of molecular nitrogen at a comet

ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has made the first measurement of molecular nitrogen at a comet, providing clues about the temperature environment in which Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko formed, the agency reports.The in situ detection of molecular nitrogen has long been

March 20, 2015

New desktop app with potential to increase asteroid detection now available to public

A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge with the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers is now available to the public. The analysis of images using this algorithm showed a 15% increase in pos

March 16, 2015

Why don’t comets melt in the Sun?

Sungrazer comets that survive perihelion extremely close to the Sun is a longstanding puzzle for comet science. In reality, observations going back centuries reveals that a comet’s activity has little or nothing to do with solar warming.Comets sometimes flare or e

March 04, 2015

Unusual comet skirting past the Sun

An unusual comet named SOHO-2875 is skirting past the Sun since February 18, 2015 and is still visible on LASCO C3 imagery. At first it appeared to be a small object about to be disintegrated by the Sun's heat, but surprisingly it emerged intact and is now brighteni

February 21, 2015

Crystal comets

The “dusty snowball” theory of comets needs attention, since there are crystals that need high temperatures to form in the matrix of at least two.Recently, the composition of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) was discussed in the scientific press. It

February 16, 2015

Radar images of binary asteroid 2004 BL86 as it flew past Earth on January 26

Asteroid 2004 BL86, which made the closest approach to Earth on January 26, 2015 for the at least the next two centuries, is in fact a binary asteroid, meaning it has its own moon.Scientists working with NASA's Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California hav

January 27, 2015

67P - The violent birth of a comet

The electric comet idea forces us to consult the astronomical testimony of our earlier forebears, where independent accounts, told with different words and different symbols in different parts of the world, convey a story of planetary catastrophe. Watch Update #1: The R

January 23, 2015

Asteroid 2004 BL86 to safely flyby Earth on January 26

Asteroid 2004 BL86 will flyby our planet at a safe distance of approximately 1.2 million km (745 000 miles) at 16:20 UTC on January 26, 2015. This is about three times the distance of Earth to the Moon. Based on its reflected brightness, astronomers estimate that this a

January 16, 2015

A yearlong look at asteroids and comets by NEOWISE

NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer or NEOWISE spacecraft, a space telescope that scans the skies for asteroids and comets, discovered and characterized 40 near-Earth objects (NEOs) in the first year after the mission was re-started in December

January 16, 2015

Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) makes closest approach to Earth

Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy), a long-period comet discovered by Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy on August 17, 2014, is making closest approach to our planet today, at some 70 million kilometers (43.5 million miles / 0.469 AU) away.This comet is now a naked eye object a

January 07, 2015

Asteroid impact exercise - preparing for an asteroid impact

In ESA's first-ever asteroid impact exercise, the agency and European disaster response offices recently rehearsed how to react if a threatening space rock is ever discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. They went through a countdown to an impact, practic

December 18, 2014

Rosetta Mission Update - Comets may not be what we thought

The Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Perhaps the strangest solar system object ever observed up close in the course of the space age. It was the target of the Rosetta probe, whose 10-year journey began in March 2004, under the sponsorship of the European Space Agency.Th

December 15, 2014

Near-Earth asteroid 2014 UR116 represents no impact threat to our planet

A recently discovered Near-Earth Asteroid designated "2014 UR116" does not represent an impact threat to our planet, as some media reports claim, NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office said in a press release yesterday. "While this approximately 400-

December 09, 2014

High-resolution geological map of asteroid Vesta published

Images from NASA's Dawn Mission have been used to create a series of high-resolution geological maps of the large asteroid Vesta, revealing the variety of surface features in unprecedented detail. These maps are included with a series of 11 scientific papers publish

November 18, 2014

Philae completes it primary mission before hibernation

Rosetta's lander Philae has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, ESA proudly announced today. With its batteries now depleted and without enough sunlight available to recharge, Philae has fallen into

November 15, 2014