Comets found lurking closer to Earth than previously thought

The Extinction Protocol

August 3, 2013SPACEColombian scientists have discovered what may be a graveyard of comets in a very strange spot — and now, some of the interred are coming back to life. These so-called “Lazarus” comets, described in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, may represent a long-lost population of the icy space travelers and may alter scientists’ understanding of their origins. These chunks of ice and rock, typically a few kilometers across, have long held human imaginations as “falling stars.” As a comet travels around the sun, the heat and light vaporize some of the water ice trapped inside, causing the signature tail of glowing gas and dust to form behind it. They’re thought to have started out near the fringes of the planetary system, with stretched, elliptical orbits that are so extreme that some of comets circle the sun only once in several thousand…

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