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Evidence For 200-Year-Old Comet Impact On Neptune

July 20th, 2010 07:58 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

astroengine writes “Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel space observatory have spotted evidence of a cometary impact in Neptune’s upper atmosphere (publication, PDF). Whereas impact craters on rocky planetary bodies can remain for billions of years, an impact in the dynamic atmospheres of gas giants aren’t obvious, especially if long periods of time have elapsed. This ultimate ‘cold case’ tracked the unusual distribution of carbon monoxide in Neptune’s stratosphere, a sure sign it was deposited there by an external source. Once they realized they were looking at a comet impact, researchers were able to deduce when the impact occurred: 200 years ago.”

Source: Evidence For 200-Year-Old Comet Impact On Neptune

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