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Surprising Signs from Comet Wirtanen

Credits

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
 
Video imagery:


·       Wide field image of Comet Wirtanen: Tom Masterson (Grand Mesa Observatory)
·       Comet Wirtanen: NASA 
 
Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak
Science review: Dr. Kelly Lepo
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits


Transcript

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Space.
 
Text, News From the Universe
 
Text, July 9, 2021, Surprising Signs from Comet Wirtanen
 
The comet shines in the background of starry space.
 
Text, During its 2018 Earth flyby, Comet Wirtanen was releasing unusually high amounts of alcohol...
 
Text, Comet 46P/Wirtanen
 
Text, The additional heat and energy could be from chemical reactions near the heart of the comet, or chunks of ice splintering off.
 
Text, Water ice from comets like Wirtanen quickly turns to gas, but could condense to liquid on a planet surface.
 
Text, Studying ancient comets for the early building blocks of our solar system--the only known home to life--can help us recognize those molecules in other systems.
 
Text, this news was brought to you in part by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD.