Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Comet C/2013 A1 and Mars in 2014


Discovery News

A recently discovered comet will make an uncomfortably close planetary flyby next year — but this time it’s not Earth that’s in the crosshairs.
According to preliminary orbital prediction models, comet C/2013 A1 will buzz by Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. The icy interloper is thought to originate from the Oort Cloud — a hypothetical region surrounding the solar system containing countless billions of cometary nuclei that were outcast from the primordial solar system billions of years ago.
We know that comets have hit the planets before (re: the massive Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9that crashed into Jupiter in 1994), Mars in particular. It’s also believed that Earth’s oceans were created by water delivered by comets — cometary impacts are an inevitable part of living in this cosmic ecosystem.

Raw Story

Astronomers say that a comet will make an close flyby next year, not of Earth, but of our neighbor planet, Mars. According to a Monday report on Discovery.com, the recently discovered comet, named C/2013 A1 will fly close to Mars on Oct. 19 of 2014.
Comets are balls of ice and debris flung off in the process of forming planets and stars. Comet c/2013 is believed, like many others that pass through our solar system, to have originated in what is known as the Oort Cloud. The Oort Cloud is a massive field of many billions of comets that surrounds our solar system. The cloud was theorized by astronomer Jan Oort in 1950, but it has never been seen and scientists, while mostly accepting that it exists, argue about its size and where the comet nuclei floating in it came from.