Comets and asteroids

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

Newly released map shows frequency of small asteroid impacts

A map released yesterday by NASA's Near Earth Object (NEO) Observation Program reveals that small asteroids frequently enter and disintegrate in the Earth's atmosphere with random distribution around the globe. Released to the scientific community, the map visua

November 15, 2014

Philae alive, sends first images from a comet 511 million km away from Earth

In a media briefing held at ESOC today, ESA confirmed "Philae" lander is alive and operational after three touchdowns on Comet 67/P, located some 511 million kilometers away from Earth. First analysis of the touchdown data suggests that the lander bounced twic

November 13, 2014

Landing success! Philae makes history with first-ever landing on a comet

ESA Operations have just confirmed - Rosetta's lander named "Philae" successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12, 2014. The touch down happened about 15:34 UTC, while the confirmation signal, as expected, arrived shortly aft

November 12, 2014

Live events scheduled for first-ever landing attempt on a comet - November 11/12, 2014

After a ten-year journey through the Solar System ESA's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on August 6, 2014. The mission’s lander, Philae, will be deployed on Wednesday, November 12 at 08:35 UTC from a distance of 22.5 km

November 11, 2014

Siding Spring's flyby effects on Martian atmosphere revealed

Two NASA and one European spacecraft that obtained the first up-close observations of a comet flyby of Mars on October 19, 2014 have gathered new information about the basic properties of the comet’s nucleus and directly detected the effects on the Martian atmosph

November 07, 2014

Space fleet ready for Siding Spring's historic brush with Mars

C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) is scheduled for a very close flyby at only about 139 500 km (88 000 miles) away from the surface of Mars on October 19, 2014 around 18:27 UTC. That is less than half the distance between Earth and its moon and less than one-tenth the distance

October 10, 2014

Comet 67P has 19 000 km long coma and Rosetta is less than 30 km from its surface

ESA has released a montage of four images of Comet 67P/C-G taken on September 26, from a distance of 26.3 km (16 miles) from the center of the comet, showing spectacular region of activity at the neck of the comet. What we’re seeing is the product of ices

October 04, 2014

Preliminary map of Rosetta's target - comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

The preliminary map of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and new high resolution images from OSIRIS instrument were released at special session at EPSC yesterday. This is the first time a cometary surface was seen in such detail. In some of the images, one pixel correspon

September 09, 2014

Binary asteroid 2002 CE26 to safely flyby Earth on September 9, 2014

Asteroid 2014 RC flew past Earth yesterday and left a warning sign in Nicaragua's capital Managua but there is another and bigger asteroid approaching our planet.Discovered on February 10, 2002, by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (L

September 08, 2014

Meteorite hits Nicaragua's capital, leaves 12-meter wide crater

A meteorite hit Nicaragua's capital Managua around 05:00 UTC on Sunday, September 7, and left a 12-meter wide crater in a wooded area near the city's airport. The meteorite impact was accompanied by a loud boom and a burning smell.

September 08, 2014

Asteroid 2014 RC to flyby through Earth-Moon system on September 7, 2014

Newly discovered 20-meters wide (60 feet) asteroid named 2014 RC will enter the Earth - Moon system on Sunday, September 7, 2014, and flyby just 40 000 km (25 000 miles / 0.1 LD) from Earth. That's almost inside the orbit of geosynchronous

September 05, 2014

Large fireball recorded over Campinas, Brazil

A large fireball was captured streaking across the skies of the city of Campinas, state of São Paulo, Brazil, at 22:07 UTC on Monday, September 1, 2014.The fireball was captured by stations in Campinas (OMCJN and WAS) and Mogi das Cruzes (MC4).Video credit: 

September 03, 2014

Supermoon vs Perseid meteors

During the second week of August, the biggest and brightest full Moon of the year will face off against everyone's favorite meteor shower - Perseids - and the outcome could be beautiful.On August 10, 2014, just as the Perseids are set to peak, the Moon wil

July 29, 2014

Watch near-Earth asteroid 2014 KH39 close fly-by today

A 22 meters wide asteroid named "2014 KH39" will make a very close approach with the Earth on June 3, 2014, reaching a minimum distance of less than 440 000 km (1.14 lunar distances, 438 460 miles). The closest approach is expected at 20:07 UTC today.This is a

June 03, 2014