December 12, 2018

Episode 160: Quick-Orbiting Comets are Drawing Attention

Comets affected by Jupiter's gravity draw attention from University of Arizona planetary scientists.

AZSCI 160: Fast-orbiting comets This infrared image of the Jupiter-family comet Johnson was taken with Spitzer's multiband imaging photometer (MIPS) at a wavelength of 24 microns. (PHOTO: NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach)

Arizona Science

Quick-Orbiting Comets are Drawing Attention

NPR
Episode 160: Walt Harris, University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Lab Professor

University of Arizona lunar and planetary lab professor Walt Harris is tracking short-period comets as they pass by Earth. They're called Jupiter family comets because Jupiter's gravity twists their path into tighter orbits around the sun, but they'll only come within 10-to-15 million km from Earth. Short-period comets complete their orbits every 6 to 20 years. Some scientists think chemicals from collisions with comets 4 billion years ago were instrumental in developing life on Earth.

Walt Harris spoke with Leslie Tolbert, PhD, Regents Professor Emerita in Neuroscience at the University of Arizona.

Arizona Science
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