The dust trail from the largest comet explosion ever seen will grace the sky this summer — and it will look like a giant hourglass.
The night show will be held in October 2007 in favor of Comet Holmes, 17P / Holmes, which will be a million times brighter and temporarily the largest celestial body, with a huge flash of gas and dust. Solar system..In that short period, the coma, the cloud of dust surrounding the comet, had a larger diameter. Sun..
Initially, the particles released by this record-breaking explosion seemed to simply have the potential to diffuse into space, Maria Glitzevic, a planetary scientist at the University of Helsinki in Finland, told Live Science.
Now, a new model of the comet’s dust trail, described in a study by Gritzevich and her colleagues, has discovered that the dust trail is persistent instead. Particles left by the explosion in an elliptical orbit between the original explosion point and the opposite point of the dust trail journey around the Sun as seen from the Southern Hemisphere.
In 2022, the particles will once again accumulate near the point of explosion. In other words, you can see the dust trail from the Northern Hemisphere to your hobby Stargazer.
“Telescopes are so good now that even relatively modest systems are possible,” Glitzevic, the lead author of the study, told Live Science.
17P / Comet Holmes orbit between Mars and Comet Holmes Jupiter.. British astronomer Edwin Holmes first discovered it in 1892 when he flared with an explosion large enough to catch his eye while observing the Andromeda Galaxy. The 2007 explosion was even bigger.
“17P / Holmes itself is probably special because other comets in similar orbits around the Sun do not cause this kind of massive periodic explosion,” said the study’s co-author, the Finnish Ursa Astronomers Association. Astronomer Markku Nissinen writes by e-mail to Live Science.
No one knows exactly how a comet produces such a dramatic explosion, but when the ice beneath the comet’s body transitions from a chaotic amorphous array to a structured crystalline array. Can occur in. This transition releases gas from the ice and creates outward pressure on the comet’s surface. The result is an eruption of ice, gas and dust. (It is “notable” that this happens without blowing the comet at all, Nissinen said.)
In a new study Monthly Notification of the Royal Astronomical SocietyResearchers have modeled the physics of dust trails to understand how their initial shape led to the orbits observed today.
Traces of dust
Combining observations from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres with an understanding of how to do it gravity The solar wind acts on particles of various sizes, and researchers have followed the path of the dust trail over time. As the particles move, they are categorized by size due to the effects of gravity and the solar wind, usually reaching two nodes in orbit in the order of medium, large, and small. The dust also moves in the form of a subtle hourglass, with two dust bulges on each side and a narrow area of dust in the center. This is the relic of the first spherical dust burst from the comet body.
The size of the particles is very small, a fraction of a millimeter, but it reflects the sun’s rays and uses a telescope to make it appear as a vague trajectory in the night sky. (Previously the trail was visible, including the Northern Hemisphere in 2014 and 2015, but the brightness depends on how the particles capture the sun.) From a Finnish amateur astronomer who took a picture of the trail. I already have one report. In February and March, Gritsevich said. Other Northern Hemisphere observers have the opportunity to look for trails after late July, Nissinen said, once the particles emerge from the sun’s glare. The convergence point where the particles gather is Constellation Pegasus..
Modeling the dust trail may help astronomers to study comets up close and personally, Glitzevic said. By accurately mapping where the dust from the comet is, scientists can launch a spacecraft to collect material. This is a simpler proposal than intercepting and sampling the comet itself. She and her colleagues are currently planning to model the dust trajectory of the original 1892 explosion, hoping to find dust from the event.
According to Nissinen, the comet has not experienced an explosion since 2007 and it is impossible to say when the next explosion will come. Comet 17P / Comet Holmes exploded in 1892 and 1893 in a row, so it can erupt at any time. The comet will then swing closest to the Sun again on January 31, 2028.
Originally published in Live Science
See the largest comet explosion spray dust ever in the entire universe | Live Science
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