News24

Comet survives 'brush with death'

2011-12-16 20:05

Washington - A small comet survived what astronomers figured would be a sure death when it danced uncomfortably close to the broiling sun on Thursday night.

Comet Lovejoy was only discovered a couple of weeks ago. It was supposed to melt as it came so close to the sun that the temperatures would hit several million degrees.

But astronomers watching live with Nasa telescopes were shocked when a bright spot emerged on the sun's other side. Lovejoy lived.

The comet came within 121 000km of the sun. For a small object often described as a dirty snowball, that brush with the sun should have been fatal.

Astronomers say it probably was not deadly because the comet was larger than they thought.

Comments
  • jack.oosthuysen - 2011-12-16 20:17

    ???

      Squeegee - 2011-12-16 20:20

      Such an exact science. "astronomers...were shocked". And we have to entrust our eternity to scientists.

      stuart.steedman - 2011-12-16 20:33

      I'd rather entrust it to scientists than to those who believe a jewish zombie will save everyone so long as you hate gays, knowledge and common sense. And here's the fun thing: when science is wrong (and it can be), it replaces it with more science. When religion is wrong, it doesn't replace it. It tries to bend the reality of the world to suit that fallacy.

      mal10s - 2011-12-17 02:54

      "It was supposed to MELT as it came so close to the sun that the temperatures would hit several million degrees." Perhaps vaporise is a better word here?

  • Shoe - 2011-12-16 20:45

    And I know a bunch of craze people who really need to get a life!!!

  • Anthony - 2011-12-17 08:59

    so will the little big thing miss earth?

  • David - 2011-12-17 09:17

    Since the comet was only discovered a short while ago little would be known of it. As it has survived it means that the vaporization has tended to cool it. The vapor then would tend to shield some of the radiation. I think Sqeegee`s brain got vaporized too !

  • ludlowdj - 2011-12-19 14:53

    Which just goes to re-enforce what I have always said, at the end of the day science is based on our knowledge, and as our understanding and knowledge is so limited in the greater scheme of things we actually know squat. Science is nothing more than the best available answer to a question based on human knowledge at that time. What is put forward today as science fact is usually the same thing that gets laughed at down the line for being so primitive and superstitious. Anyone that tells you they are a qualified scientist and this is how it works will ly to you about other things as well.

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