Comets Outside The Solar System Seen Diving To A Star By The Hubble Space Telescope

By Donna Marie Lapena Padua , Jan 11, 2017 09:48 AM EST

Multiple comets outside the solar system were seen from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The Exocomets are not fleeing towards the sun however the entities are reportedly plunging towards the young star HD 172555. Researching scientists though are still not sure whether the entities are really comets or just asteroids.

Led by NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center and Eureka Scientific Inc.'s Carol Grady, a team of astronomers informed the public about a new discovery they found through the Hubble Space Telescope. The device detected multiple exocomets plunging to the young star HD 172555 which is only 23 million years old. The said star is reportedy 95 light-years from the Earth.

From a statement released by NASA, the comets outside the solar system were detected by the Hubble Space Telescope because of the gases around them which is speculated by scientists as vaporized remnants of the bodies' icy nuclei. These gases are also told by astronomers as remnants of disintegrated comets deflected from planets with sizes near Jupiter's.

Scientists then explained that the massive gravity of the planets where the comets originated catapulted the entities towards the young star in a process dubbed as "gravitational stirring." Such phenomena also happens in the solar system according to scientists where sungrazing comets dive into the sun.

"Seeing these sun-grazing comets in our solar system and in three extrasolar systems means that this activity may be common in young star systems," Grady said in a statement as noted by Hubblesite. Grady then continued to explain the essence of studying these comets outside the solar system and the comets inside it as well. She revealed that these comets pelting the bodies in the solar system can make life possible as they carry water and life-forming elements in them such as carbon to habitable planets.

According to, the HD172555 is a collection of stars dubbed as Beta Pictoris Moving Group. This collection, according to Grady, is the closest star system to Earth which could support terrestrial planets. She continued unveiling results of their study saying that the Hubble Space Telescope detected silicon and carbon-gas around HD 172555. While the bodies move like comets, Grady's team will however have to look for more chemical footprints of hydrogen and oxygen to confirm that the bodies are indeed comets outside the solar system or just some rocky asteroids.

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