They were even able to detect nickel and iron fumes in comets that are more than 480 million kilometers from the sun (more than three times their distance from Earth) and Even on interstellar comet icy 2I / Borisov.
This observation was made by a team of Belgian astronomers using data from the Very Large Telescope from European Southern Observatory (ESO) is located in the Chilean city of Atacama. “It was a great surprise that iron and nickel atoms were discovered in the atmosphere of all comets, even those far from the sun.”, He said Jan ManfredA scientist at the University of Liège led the study.
The team used a technique called Spectroscopy To analyze the atmospheres of comets at different distances from the sun, allowing for the analysis of the light spectrum of each chemical element to reveal the composition of the object.
The process is complex, as heavy items are difficult to locate due to the fact of this They are present in very small quantitiesFor every 100 kilograms of water in comet atmospheres, there are only a few grams of iron and nickel. Therefore, numerous tests and verifications were required.
The result has special implications for understanding the early solar system, such as Comets formed about 4.6 billion years ago and have not changed since then They are like a kind of fossil for specialists. Curiosity: The amounts of iron and nickel present in comet atmospheres are roughly the same, when the rest of the meteorites contain about ten times more iron than nickel. One of the many unknowns it will seek to clarify with more modern tools and future research.
But first, the research reveals it Faraway comets and comets have more in common in the solar system than previously thought.