Apr 16

Unique Fragment from Earth’s Formation Returns after Billions of Years in Cold Storage

Source: ESO Science Release eso1614

eso1614aArtist's impression of the unique rocky comet C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS).
Image credits: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Astronomers have found a unique object that appears to be made of inner Solar System material from the time of Earth’s formation, which has been preserved in the Oort Cloud far from the Sun for billions of years. Observations with ESO’s Very Large Telescope, and the Canada France Hawai Telescope, show that C/2014 S3 (PANSTARRS) is the first object to be discovered on a long-period cometary orbit that has the characteristics of a pristine inner Solar System asteroid. It may provide important clues about how the Solar System formed.(Learn more)

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