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Oct 19 2011

It’s raining comets at Eta Corvi!

Bring the rain! The Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence that a nearby star system only 60 light-years away may be undergoing a period of bombardment similar to what happened during and before the Hadean Eon in our solar system about five-billion years ago:

The infrared telescope spotted a band of dust around Eta Corvi that strongly matches the chemical makeup of an obliterated giant comet, said Carey Lisse, senior research scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., and lead author of the new study. The Eta Corvi system is approximately 1 billion years old, which would place it in the right time period for such a comet storm, the researchers said.

4 comments

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  1. 1
    docsarvis

    This is way cool. Great use of tax dollars.

  2. 2
    richardelguru

    One of the things I love about astronomy (and science in general) is that you can say things like “only 60 light-years away” [my emphasis] without a trace of irony!

  3. 3
    Francisco Bacopa

    Has this system got any rocky planets in the likely habitable zone?

    We need to get a probe there fast if it does. Might shed some light on the origin of life. And by “fast” I mean within a couple thousand years.

  4. 4
    ManOutOfTime

    Awesome – après ca, le deluge. Is that not how Earth got its water (and probably life). It’s fantastic that we can observe scientific theories unfolding elsewhere!

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