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What happened? It might have fragmented, exposing bright clouds of dusty gas to the sun. Certainly the comet's tail looks like debris from an explosion:
But Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC, doesn’t think so. "Outbursts do not necessarily imply fragmentation, and ground-based images are not yet showing evidence of a breakup," he says. "This could just be a particularly feisty and volatile comet."
Comet SWAN was discovered on April 11th when Australian amateur astronomer Michael Mattiazzo noticed a curious "bloom" in images from SOHO's SWAN camera. SWAN surveys the solar system for hydrogen gas, and it caught the comet making a sudden hydrogen dump. That might have been Comet SWAN’s first outburst.
I'm beginning to wonder if the superstitions of yesteryear re: comets wasn't based on some reality, however circumspect.
Either way, is it my skewed perception or is there more "debris" in our system than is usual?
Could a comet be virus ridden and could the virus make it into our atmosphere alive?
“Every day, more than 800 million viruses are deposited per square meter (11 sq ft) above the planetary boundary layer,” explained study co-author Curtis Suttle, a virologist at the University of British Columbia, according to Newsweek
The planetary boundary layer — which rests in the lowest part of the troposphere — moves and responds to conditions at the Earth’s surface. In this new research, the team went beyond that and measured viruses in the upper troposphere. That is because viruses can be swept up by various natural shifts that causes them to soar thousands of miles through the air before coming back to Earth.
The Mystery Of Life On Earth
The idea that life was seeded on Earth by objects hitting the Earth makes perfect sense. Scientists already believe that this is how much of the material on Earth ended up here. Most scientist believe that this is how water ended up on Earth. After the Earth cooled, meteorites ravaged the planet carrying all the elements which make our planet so diverse. Everything from precious metals to hydrogen probably came from off-world objects. If meteors, comets and asteroids brought water to Earth then it is safe to assume that there were biological materials and microbes in the water that they brought. One would think that mainstream scientist’s would be on board with the idea of Panspermia
If most of the material on Earth came from off of the Earth, then that means most life could have too. Have you ever heard the saying “we are all just stardust”? Assuming this is true then Panspermia is a discussion about when and how life was seeded on Earth, not if.
Comet SWAN will be closest to Earth on the night of May 12 to May 13, passing by from a distance of about 0.56 astronomical units - more than half the distance to the Sun.
Although the comet will be better seen in the Southern Hemisphere, it will still be possible to see it from the UK.
The Lancaster University Astronomy Society tweeted: "Comet SWAN @c2020f8 is visible to the naked eye!
"It'll be an early morning object for us in the UK, and we're hoping it'll hold long enough to reach its closest approach on May 13... eyes east."