STATES CHRONICLE – We’ve all seen apocalyptic movies in which comets hit the Earth but it looks like now the Earth is facing comet threat for real.
I, for one, never did think much of the probability that our planet could be hit by a comet or a huge meteor or any other cosmic object that could cause its destruction. But it looks like I should have been paying more attention to the apocalyptic sci-fi movies as they weren’t as far from reality as I thought.
The objects which are usually the main focus for scientists are asteroids located near Mars and Jupiter. However, astronomers have been keeping an eye on cosmic objects which could potentially pose a threat to our planet and have concluded that even distant giant comets could represent a danger.
According to a team of astronomers with members from both the University of Buckingham and the Armagh Observatory claim that given the large number of discoveries of hundreds of comets in the past 20 years could indicate that these objects could represent a greater threat to our planet than the asteroids we’re constantly monitoring.
Why the comets pose a threat if they’re so distant? It so happens that they move on uneven orbits and get near to planets like Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn. Occasionally, these planets’ gravitational fields deflect the comets’ trajectories towards Earth.
These huge comets are called centaurs and can be up to 100 km long which is bigger than the total number of asteroids that crossed the Earth so far. Scientists measured the rate at which centaurs enter the inner part of our solar system and according to their estimations one of the comets will cross the orbit of our planet once in every 40,000 to 100,000 years.
Getting near the Earth will make the centaurs fall apart and produce both dust and big fragments which are very likely to come into collision with the planet’s surface.
All in all, given these new estimates and calculations, astronomers will pay more attention to centaurs from now on and make sure to announce any possible threat comic from one of these huge comets.
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