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Galactic visitor is 'dramatically different' from any comets we've seen before – Siliconrepublic.com

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Researchers are now able to chemically peer inside distant comets, showing one in particular is highly unusual.

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found something unusual in a galactic visitor that entered our solar system last year. In a paper published to Nature Astronomy, they revealed that comet 2I/Borisov that the gas coming out of the comet contained unusually high amounts of carbon monoxide (CO).

In fact, the concentration is higher than anyone has detected in any comet within 300m km of the sun, equivalent to two astronomical units (AU). The levels of CO concentration are between nine and 26 times higher than the average solar system comet.

“This is the first time we’ve ever looked inside a comet from outside our solar system,” said astrochemist Martin Cordiner, “and it is dramatically different from most other comets we’ve seen before.”

In addition to CO, the gas hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is also being ejected from the comet at levels similar to solar system comets. The astronomers believe the comet must have formed from material rich in CO ice, which is only present at the lowest temperatures of space at around -250 degrees Celsius.

This variation in the levels of CO among comets remains a mystery to astronomers, with theories ranging from the location where a comet formed in the solar system, to how often its orbit brings it close to the sun leading to more evaporated ices.

Peering into a planetary system

Speculating about the planetary system 2I/Borisov may have come from, Cordiner said: “Most of the protoplanetary disks observed with ALMA are around younger versions of low-mass stars like the sun,” said Cordiner.

“Many of these disks extend well beyond the region where our own comets are believed to have formed, and contain large amounts of extremely cold gas and dust. It is possible that 2I/Borisov came from one of these larger disks.”

Travelling at speeds of 33km per second, the astronomers believe 2I/Borisov was kicked out of its host system, probably by interacting with a passing star or giant planet. It then spent millions or billions of years on a cold, lonely voyage through interstellar space before it was discovered on 30 August 2019 by amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov.

Astronomer Stefanie Milam said the discovery “gave us the first glimpse into the chemistry that shaped another planetary system”.

“But only when we can compare the object to other interstellar comets, will we learn whether 2I/Borisov is a special case, or if every interstellar object has unusually high levels of CO,” she said.

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An Asteroid Bigger Than The Empire State Building Poses ‘No Danger’ On Saturday Night, Says NASA – Forbes

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A huge near-Earth asteroid will pass our planet tonight at a safe distance of 3.2 million miles, according to NASA.

After a spate of doom-laden headlines the space agency felt the need yesterday to update a previous post about near-Earth asteroids with the following note:

“Asteroid 2002 NN4 will safely pass by the Earth on June 6 at a distance of approximately 3.2 million miles (5.1 million kilometers), about 13 times further away from the Earth than the Moon is. There is no danger the asteroid will hit the Earth.”

Asteroid 2002 NN4’s closest approach to Earth will be at 11:20 p.m. EDT. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

NASA also tweeted the same advice:

NASA Asteroid Watch then tweeted this image of the asteroid’s trajectory:

How big is Asteroid 2002 NN4?

Asteroid 2002 NN4 is huge. Measuring between 820 feet and 1,870 feet (250 meters to 570 meters) according to Space.com. New York City’s Empire State Building is 443.2 meters tall, including its antenna.

That’s over a dozen times bigger than the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013. That was the biggest meteor for over a century.

Would asteroid 2002 NN4 be dangerous if it hit Earth?

Yes—asteroid 2002 NN4 is city-killer size, but it’s not going to cause any harm to anyone.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

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Crew Dragon with two NASA astronauts docks to ISS – TASS

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NEW YORK, May 31. /TASS/. The Crew Dragon spacecraft with Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on board has successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS), as follows from a NASA broadcast on Sunday.

The spacecraft began approaching the ISS about two hours before docking than was carried out 10:16 ahead of the schedule. The Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched using the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 22.22 pm Moscow time on May 30 from the Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Crew Dragon is a configuration of the cargo spacecraft Dragon, which had already delivered cargoes to the ISS. A Falcon-9 rocket put the cargo vehicle in space on March 2. Its docking with the ISS was carried out automatically the next day.

NASA stopped crewed flights in 2011 after the Space Shuttle program came to an end. From that moment on all astronauts were delivered to the ISS and back by Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. Originally the Untied States was to start using commercial spacecraft for crewed missions in 2017.

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Toddler could be battling rare syndrome in response to COVID-19 – Winnipeg Free Press

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More than a month after testing positive for COVID-19, a Winnipeg toddler is fighting another illness – a possible rare inflammatory syndrome that could be part of the body’s reaction to new viruses.

The girl’s mother told CBC News doctors are trying to find out whether the one-year-old has developed Kawasaki disease, or multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, now that she is negative for COVID-19 but is still seriously ill.

To read more of this story first reported by CBC News, click here.

The Winnipeg Free Press and CBC Manitoba recognize each other as trusted news sources. This content is made available to our readers as part of an agreement to collaborate to better serve our community. Any questions about CBC content should be directed to: talkback@cbc.ca

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