Wacky Comet Causes Confusion

December 3, 2008

California (Chattahbox) – A comet with an odd chemical makeup has scientists scratching their heads. The comet, Machholz 1, is believed to have come from another solar system, making it an interloper, and so possibly needing to be put into a newly defined category of space phenomenon.

“A large fraction of comets in our own solar system have escaped into interstellar space, so we expect that many comets formed around other stars would also have escaped,” commented Arizona based Lowell Observatory astronomer David Schleicher. “Some of these will have crossed paths with the sun, and Machholz 1 could be an interstellar interloper.”

Containing less cyanogen, C2, and C3, the comet’s chemical structure is much different then those we are familiar with, and if it did indeed come from outside out solar system, it could shift our thinking in the distance comets travel.

Another possibility is that is actually did form within out solar system, however so far from the sun that it was created under much more extreme environmental conditions then those closer to our star.

It could also be that it was formed under extreme heat, causing the cyanogen resources to deplete, and so change the chemical contained in the chunk of ice.

“Since its orbit is unusual, we must be suspicious that repeated high temperature cooking might be the cause for its unusual composition,” Schleicher explained.


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