This picture reveals the Oort cloud comet C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS). ESO / SPECULOOS Staff / E. Jehin.

Final 12 months, astronomers in Paris seen a phenomenal and distinctive comet, technically known as C/2016 R2 however extra colloquially generally known as “the blue comet” for its uncommon hue. Now, the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has launched this new picture displaying the comet up shut.

C/2016 R2 is believed to originate from the Oort Cloud, a distant area of our photo voltaic system with objects orbiting the solar which are far past even the Kuiper Belt. The cloud consists of billions and even trillions of objects which kind a sphere throughout our solar, not like the planets and the Kuiper Belt which kind extra of a flat disk form across the solar. Which means that the comet has a extremely eccentric orbit, being titled at an angle of 58 levels.

However the way more uncommon function of the comet is its coloration. Comets and their tails are sometimes yellow or impartial in shade, as a result of manner radiation from the solar is scattered by mud. This comet, nevertheless, has uncommon compounds in its coma, or the halo round its core. These compounds embody carbon monoxide and nitrogen ions, which give the comet its blue coloration.

The comas and tails are shaped when the comet comes near the solar. “Comets are balls of mud, ice, fuel, and rock,” the ESO scientists defined in a press release. “Once they go near the solar, their ice warms up, turns to fuel, and escapes in a course of known as ‘outgassing.’ This course of varieties fuzzy envelopes across the comets’ nucleus, known as comas, and distinctive tails.”

It’s uncommon for a comet corresponding to this to be noticed, nevertheless. The blue comet circles the solar as soon as each 20,000 years and we don’t typically see others prefer it. “Comet C/2016 R2 is consultant of a household of comets that we observe solely not often every century,” the scientists mentioned.

There are two theories for the origin of the comet: Both it’s from a uncommon group of comets from past the road at which nitrogen can condense into stable grains. Or it may very well be a fraction that was knocked off a bigger object orbiting past Neptune.

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