World’s Strangest

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Comet Ison will be ‘brighter than the Moon’

A comet due to pass close to the Earth in 2013 is expected to provide a rare and spectacular display. The comet was only recently discovered by two Ru…

Comet impact narrowly avoided in 1883

A huge comet narrowly missed hitting the Earth when it passed within 5,000 miles of us in 1883. Astronomers have been examining a photograph of the co…

Controversy surrounds "intelligent comet"

A comet discovered last year by Leonid Elenin is being claimed by some to be under intelligent control. Controversial claims alleged to be made by Chi…

The Sun-pocalypse That Wasn’t

Remember all those movies from the turn of the millennium where a giant comet or asteroid plummets toward Earth and threatens to destroy life as we know it? Well, that’s exactly what happened on the sun over the weekend — without the attendant chaos or loss of life, of course. In fact, it was kind [...]

Clovis comet theory crashes

A new theory claiming that a comet caused the demise of the Clovis people comes under critics’ fire. Three scientists in California and Arizona are as…

A Cometarium

Harvard University’s Putnam Gallery has a collection of historical scientific instruments. Pictured above is Benjamin Martin’s cometarium, which dates back to about 1766. Here’s what it did: This apparatus was designed to demonstrate how the speed of a comet varies in its orbit according to Kepler’s law of equal areas. The comet Benjamin Martin chose for [...]

Deep Impact flies by small comet

The Deep Impact spacecraft flew by a small comet on Thursday some 13 million miles from Earth. Its only the fifth time the core of a comet has been vi…

Deep Impact spacecraft readies for comet

The Deep Impact spacecraft will soon be making a close approach of the comet Hartley 2. Next week the spacecraft will be getting within 435 miles of t…

Mass extinction event spared Europe

When a massive comet smashed in to the Earth 65 million years ago it caused widespread devastation that saw the end of the dinosaurs but strangely…

Jupiter’s Temporary Moons

Sarah Zielinski writes in The Smithsonian that Jupiter, as the largest planet in our solar system, occasionally pulls comets into its orbit. Sometimes, as with comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1994 (pictured), Jupiter’s gravity will even pull a comet into a direct impact. Zielinsky writes: Astronomers from Japan and Northern Ireland, presenting their findings today at the [...]