Comets and asteroids

Newly discovered asteroid 2016 HO3 is Earth's new quasi-satellite

Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii has discovered Earth's new quasi-satellite. Designated as 2016 HO3, this newly discovered near-Earth object has been our planet's constant companion for almost a century. The asteroid is too...

June 16, 2016

Organic molecules crucial for life found in Rosetta's comet

Scientists analyzing data acquired by ESA's comet chaser Rosetta while orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko have discovered organic molecules regarded as crucial for the origin of life on Earth. The ingredients include the amino acid glycine (C2H5NO2),...

May 31, 2016

Small comet or asteroid impacts Jupiter

Two astronomers have captured images of a small comet or asteroid as it impacted Jupiter at 00:18 UTC on March 17, 2016. The videos of the same event were captured from Austria and Ireland. The object is probably in the tens-of-meters wide range, according to Phil...

March 30, 2016

Observations of comet P/2016 BA14 while making one of the closest-ever comet flybys of Earth

Astronomers were watching comet Pan-STARRS (P/2016 BA14) on March 22 as it made the third closest-ever comet flyby of Earth in recorded history. At the time of its closest approach, the comet was about 3.6 million km (2.2 million miles) away from the surface of our...

March 25, 2016

'Twin comets' to safely fly past Earth

Two Jupiter-family comets - 252P/LINEAR and P/2016 BA14 (PANSTARRS) - will safely fly past Earth on March 21 and 22, 2016 at a distance of 5.2 million km (3.3 million miles) and 3.5 million km (2.2 million miles), respectively. The two comets have intriguingly...

March 21, 2016

Asteroid 2016 EF195 detected 4 days after very close flyby

Newly discovered asteroid 2016 EF195 made a very close approach to Earth on March 11 and flew by us at 0.08 lunar distances. The closest approach occurred at 04:35 UTC at about 31 565 km (0.000211 AU / 0.08 LD / 19 613 miles) from the surface of our planet. This...

March 18, 2016

Bright spots of Ceres reveal unexpected changes

New observations of the dwarf planet Ceres, made by the HARPS spectrograph at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile show its bright spots become brighter during the day and show other variations, not only those changes related to planet's rotation. The results...

March 16, 2016

Newly discovered asteroid 2016 DV1 to make a very close flyby of Earth on March 3, 2016

A newly discovered asteroid named 2016 DV1 is expected to make a very close flyby of Earth on March 3, 2016. 2016 DV1 is an Apollo class asteroid discovered on February 28, 2016. Its estimated size is between 28 and 62 meters (92 to 203 feet), which is about twice...

March 02, 2016

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