Scientists detect a huge eruption in a volcanic comet in the Solar System

The comet travels through the system spewing more than a million tons of debris.

Advertisements

Astronomers have detected a comet spewing massive tons of debris into space: 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann.

This volcanic astro erupted leaving a huge, massive cloud of gas and ice that has surprised scientists.

eruption in space

Comet 29P has a width of 60 kilometers and takes around 15 years to orbit the Sun. It is one of 100 “centaurs” comets that were drawn from the Kuiper Belt into orbit between Jupiter and Neptune.

Since last November 22, its brightness has increased and is due, according to LiveScience , to a massive volcanic eruption.

Unlike terrestrial volcanoes, the comet spews extremely cold gases and ice from its nucleus in an activity known as cryovolcanism or cold volcanism.

These types of cryovolcanic bodies are vulnerable to the Sun, causing the icy interior to sublime from a solid to a gas, causing a buildup of pressure beneath the crust. When radiation weakens that crust, the pressure causes the outer layer to crack and shoot off into space.

A big bang, but not the biggest

The ejecta expanded up to 56,000 kilometers outside the comet and travels at speeds of 1,295 km/h. We are possibly talking about a million tons of rubble.

The eruption is the second largest seen on 29P in the last 12 years. The largest was in September 2021. The explosion was followed by two smaller explosions on November 27 and 29.

29P has been largely ignored by the astronomical community since its discovery in 1927, but as new evidence emerges about its unusual volcanic activity, it is beginning to be taken more seriously. The James Webb telescope will target it in 2023.

A big bang, but not the biggest

The ejecta expanded up to 56,000 kilometers outside the comet and travels at speeds of 1,295 km/h. We are possibly talking about a million tons of rubble.

The eruption is the second largest seen on 29P in the last 12 years. The largest was in September 2021. The explosion was followed by two smaller explosions on November 27 and 29.

29P has been largely ignored by the astronomical community since its discovery in 1927, but as new evidence emerges about its unusual volcanic activity, it is beginning to be taken more seriously. The James Webb telescope will target it in 2023.