NASA's NEOWISE Spots One Comet, Maybe Two

Posted: Dec 31 2016, 3:14am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA's NEOWISE Spots One Comet, Maybe Two
An artist’s rendition of 2016 WF9 as it passes Jupiter’s orbit inbound toward the sun. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NEOWISE is on its way to spy one or two comets

includes some blurred lines between comet and asteroid. NASA scientists also expect to observe a new comet with binoculars.

On Nov 2016, NEOWISE detected WF9 that’s an orbit on its tour to the solar system. WF9 reaches Jupiter, and travels near the asteroid belt, and Mars’s orbit, and then it travels to earth’s orbit.

Then it reaches the outer part of the solar system. According to NASA scientists, these types of objects have different origins, like it could be a comet or could have come from the main asteroid’s population of objects.

The object named 2016 WF9 will reach the earth’s orbit on Feb 2017. It will be at 51 km from earth that won’t be a close trip. Scientists also assure that WF9 won’t be dangerous to earth.

There is another object discovered by NEOWISE that’s a comet known as C/2016 would be easily visible from binoculars, stated Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The comet will appear during the first week of 2017 in the northern hemisphere, and then will reach the southern sky before dawn. On June 14 the comet will reach near sun inside Mercury’s orbit. The sky watchers would easily see the comet from earth, and it’s not dangerous at all.

NEOWISE is a part of the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission for hunting comet and asteroids. NEOWISE discovered 34000 asteroids till December 2013, and then it started detecting the impact of comet and asteroids on the earth. If WF9 would be a comet, it would be tenth comet so far, and if it’s an asteroid then it would be the 100th asteroid discovered so far.

WISE or the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer was launched on Dec 14 2009 and has completed 7 years of its mission.

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