A comet known for its fiery behavior has experienced a series of near-continuous explosions since September 25.
Last Saturday (25) a point of light exploded Not far from Jupiter. Then, the eruptions continued, with two more jets of matter blasting into space on Sunday, followed by a fourth on Monday.
During this violent process, the comet became 250 times brighter than usual.
According to astronomers, this is the first time that four explosions have been recorded in a short period of time on this comet.
“Some call it a superbang,” said Maria Womack, an astrophysicist at the National Science Foundation (NSF). “It takes a tremendous amount of energy.”
Two images taken in late September by the MacDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Fort Davis show the explosions on Comet 29P.
When asked what could cause this extreme behavior, the scientist said, “We don’t know. That’s what makes it so interesting.”
Despite being about 900 million kilometers from the sun, 29P remains in a near-constant rage, often spewing gas and dust into the darkness of the sun. emptiness of space. “He’s always working and never resting,” Womack noted.
This hyperactivity is likely due to the predominance of carbon monoxide – a volatile gas that needs very little sunlight to heat up significantly and release the gas in large quantities into space. These explosions briefly illuminate the comet’s atmosphere by covering it with dust that reflects sunlight.
At least seven eruptions of this type occur each year. “No other known comet in the Solar System experiences explosions of such frequency and intensity,” commented Kacper Wierzchos, an astronomer at the University of Arizona.
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