Scientists have found that long -haul comets disappear quickly

Professor OU has seen long -haul comets fade quickly

Image of comet C / 2014 B1 (Scwartz) taken with a 2.5-meter Nordic Optical Telescope. The long comet’s orbit is outside of Saturn, but the cometary action is most evident as it travels through the planet Earth. Observing the orbit of this comet and others near and beyond Saturn shows that they will soon disappear from view due to the small number of paths between the planet Earth. . The type of “comet fading” that was first seen to occur between comets traveling in the solar system in close proximity to Earth. Photo: David Jewitt

As comets approach the Sun, they release gas and dust that astronomers see as cometary action. For comets traveling near or within the Earth’s orbit, this process is slow on the later orbits. University of Oklahoma astronomer Nathan Kaib saw this as the way comets travel farther outside Saturn.

Kaib, a professor in the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences in OU, is the lead author of the article “Comet Fading Begins Before Saturn,” published in. Scientific advances.

“Long -distance comets, which travel around the Sun for a hundred years, spend most of their lives thousands of times more than the Sun than the Earth,” Kaib said. . “But sometimes, they develop very high elliptical orbits, which in turn, they constantly move the Sun and its nearby stars. As these comets get closer to the Sun, its temperature changes. many of their skins ice in the gas.

This cometary feature is what gives comets their best view of the sky and makes it easier for them to see the stars. As the heat from the Sun continues to dissipate their ice, the activity of comets moving closer to Earth will decrease or fade over time. “

In this study, Kaib found that this type of disappearance can be seen between comets traveling in the solar system near or outside Saturn’s orbit. What surprised him was that these comets saw very weak heat from the Sun compared to those close to Earth. In fact, unlike the nearest comets, the Sun’s heating is so weak that water -based ice cannot air over these comets.

By running computer simulations of comets moving in close proximity to large baskets of the solar system, Kaib showed that the gravity of large stars quickly reduces the orbits of distant comets so they will make small trips from the Sun between paths outside the solar system.

“So we think there are a lot of comets outside the solar system in these orbits compared to those in larger orbits,” he said. “But the stars see the side; the distant comets with the orbits are almost completely separated from the view of the stars, and the comets with the larger orbits are on top of our calculations. External system, because it would make ancient comets unseen by astronomers.

Because of the difficulty of studying distant comets due to their distance, astronomers are increasingly understanding about comets by studying objects in orbits close to Earth. Kaib’s findings suggest that pathways outside the solar system may alter the physical properties of comets closer to Earth before they are even detected.

“The disappearance between distant comets was found by combining the results of a computer simulation of comet activity with a list of distant comets seen,” Kaib said. “These distant comets are very fragile and difficult to detect, and the comet monitoring industry has worked hard to build this list over the past 20 years.

Kaib hopes the Legacy Survey of Space and Time, a 10-year missionary looking at the southern sky at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile, will rapidly increase comet detection.

“The fall of the comet is important to my work in fully understanding and explaining this imminent flow of newly discovered comets,” he said.

Computer simulations were performed for this work at the OU Supercomputing Center for Education & Research. Kaib is currently on sabbatical at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Photo: ESA, NASA’s SOHO sees comet sungrazer

More information:
Nathan A. Kaib, Comet’s disappearance from Saturn, Scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abm9130.

Presented by the University of Oklahoma

Directions: Scientists observe the sudden disappearance of long comets (2022, March 30) taken on March 31, 2022 from -comets-quickly.html

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