Technology Inceptions: Apple's Latest iPhone 11 Range  |  Science Innovations: Wildflower Adapts to Climate Change  |  Parent Interventions: Family-School Initiative Benefits Students  |  Technology Inceptions: How to Reduce Heat Generated in Artificial Retina?  |  Science Innovations: How Uncertainty in Findings Impact Credibility of Climate Scientists  |  Teacher Insights: How Children Learn and Decide What to Teach  |  Health Monitor: New Solution to Reduce Tissue Damage in Heart Attack Developed  |  Education Information: AIIMS Bhubaneswar Got Second in Kayakalp Award for Second Year in a Row  |  Education Information: India gets maximum foreign students from Nepal, Karnataka for higher edu: HRD  |  Science Innovations: Caltech Scientists Discover Worms with Three Sexes  |  Education Information: Degree College Teachers Training Programme from 22nd Nov to 12th Dec 2019  |  Career News: ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE POST OF JOINT DIRECTOR, (NCERT)  |  National Edu News: UGC guidelines on plastic use  |  International Edu News: Asian students converge on 5 countries  |  Health Monitor: Playing With Fire  |  
October 28, 2017 Saturday 05:15:47 PM IST

Scientists spot comets outside solar system

Science Innovations


New York : Scientists have detected the dusty tails of six exocomets -- comets outside our solar system -- orbiting a faint star 800 light years from Earth. These cosmic balls of ice and dust, which travelled about 160,934 kms per hour before they ultimately vapourised, are some of the smallest objects yet found outside our own solar system, according to a study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 

"It's pretty impressive to be able to see something so small, so far away," said Saul Rappaport, Professor Emeritus of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. 

The discovery marks the first time that an object as small as a comet has been detected using transit photometry, a technique by which astronomers observe a star's light for telltale dips in intensity. 


Such dips signal potential transits, or crossings of planets or other objects in front of a star, which momentarily block a small fraction of its light. In the case of this new detection, the researchers were able to pick out the comet's tail, or trail of gas and dust, which blocked about one-tenth of 1 percent of the star's light as the comet streaked by.

"It's amazing that something several orders of magnitude smaller than the Earth can be detected just by the fact that it's emitting a lot of debris," Rappaport said. The detection was made using data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, a stellar observatory that was launched into space in 2009. 

Comments