Back from the dead: Jupiter’s gravitational pull breathes life into ‘graveyard’ of comets that burned out millions of years ago
A ‘graveyard of comets’ has been found by astronomers in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
And, to the surprise of astronomers, a number of comets in this graveyard have come back to life after being dormant for what could have been thousands or even millions of years.
The findings, by a Colombian team, contradict the long-standing view that the main asteroid belt was once populated by thousands of comets which ultimately burned out as they aged.
Over the past ten years researchers have found 12 active comets in the asteroid belt.
The mystery of the reactivated comets led the Colombian team to investigate their origin.
Their findings suggests that these comets came back to life after moving closer to the sun.
Why is it that astronomers keep getting surprised? Maybe they need to re-think their theoretical foundations. This phenomenon, taken together with a whole lot of other stuff, suggests that something big is happening to our solar system and maybe we need to figure it out pretty quick?