Newfound Cosmic “Gateway” funnels small, icy objects to the inner Solar System

7 October 2019
184 Views

Beginning as small, icy bodies on the outskirts of the solar system, comets turn into spectacular streaks of light when they pass through a “gateway” near Jupiter, according to new research.

This gateway is a region of space where objects called centaurs — small, icy bodies that orbit between Jupiter and Neptune — start to nudge closer to the sun. As they do so, they heat up and become “active,” primarily releasing a dusty halo of gas — which makes these small bodies, technically, comets. “We realized there’s a nexus point in orbital space where small bodies change their orbit that we nicknamed ‘the gateway,’” said lead author Gal Sarid, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida.

The gateway region is like a donut that wraps around the inner solar system, containing many possible orbits within its thick ring. Sarid and his team first came up with the gateway idea after looking at a peculiar centaur named 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 1 or SWI. Though technically a centaur, SWI is very active, regularly releasing gases like a comet does, Sarid said.

You may be interested

Anarchists block roads in downtown Athens & clash with police forces (videos)
GREECE
shares17 views
GREECE
shares17 views

Anarchists block roads in downtown Athens & clash with police forces (videos)

makis - Feb 25, 2020

Clashes took place between anarchists and anti-riot police in the afternoon at Patision, outside the Economic University. A few minutes…

Four romantic Greek destinations for every season
GREECE
shares1547 views
GREECE
shares1547 views

Four romantic Greek destinations for every season

Panos - Feb 25, 2020

Winter in the heart of Epirus? Spring in the mythical land of the Centaurs? Summer on the matchless beaches of…

Dramatic video shows Porsche crashing into barrier
GREECE
shares55 views
GREECE
shares55 views

Dramatic video shows Porsche crashing into barrier

Panos - Feb 25, 2020

A dramatic video shows the moment a Porsche driver loses control of his car, crashing into barriers on a California…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.