Comet Atlas Might Be Part of an Ancient Comet

Comet Atlas Might Be Part of an Ancient Comet
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Contemporary humans might have shared a common sky sight with our ancestors from the Stone Age. It is believed by researchers that around 5000 years ago a comet was visiting the sky, splitting after into two pieces. Around 5000 years later the comet would be back to its initial position. The first fragment is believed to be the Sirius comet that appeared back in 1844, while in 2020 the second fragment appeared in the sky, known as comet Atlas.

Atlas ultimately disintegrated in April 23, while it was still million of miles away from the Sun. The Hubble Space Telescope has caught a photo of the comet breakup.

“If it broke up this far from the Sun, how did it survive the last passage around the Sun 5,000 years ago? This is the big question. It’s very unusual because we wouldn’t expect it. This is the first time a long-period comet family member was seen breaking up before passing closer to the Sun,” said astronomer Quanzhi Ye.

The prehistoric comet does not appear in any historical accounts, so researchers based their theory on different observations. Given the fact that Atlas had the same track as the 1844 Sirius, astronomers came to the conclusions that both comets were part of an older comet that split a long time ago. In fact, it is not uncommon to discover related comets.

A study published by Ye and a team of researchers looked at the manner in which Atlas fragments disintegrated. While the comet appears to have a unique behaviour, scientists are now looking into how disintegration happens. “It is complicated because we start to see these hierarchies and evolution of comet fragmentation. Comet ATLAS’s behavior is interesting but hard to explain.”


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Asheley Rice

I am a pop culture and social media expert. Aside from writing about the latest news health, I also enjoy pop culture and Yoga. I have BA in American Cultural Studies and currently enrolled in a Mass-Media MA program. I like to spend my spring breaks volunteering overseas.

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