Comet Chury Has Dunes On It

By Rodney Rafols , Feb 23, 2017 02:14 AM EST

Astronomers are only now learning more about comets. People usually think of comets as ones made out of ice. A discovery though shows that comet Chury has dunes on it.

The Rosetta spacecraft has come close to the comet Chury and has made a surprising discovery. Images coming from it show that comet Chury seem to have dunes on its surface. Researchers are studying the images to find out how the dunes have been formed on the comet.

Researchers from the Laboratoire de Physique et Mécanique des Milieux Hétérogènes (CNRS/ESPCI Paris/UPMC/Université Paris Diderot) are studying the images taken by the Rosetta spacecraft to know how the comet has them. The study has found that the dunes have formed due to winds that would have been strong enough to carry grains of sand. However, the researchers are still trying to find out how winds can be produced on comets, as they don't have an atmosphere.

The dunes on comet Chury are said to be ten meters apart from each other. The dunes are found on the lobes of the comet. They are also found on its neck. The dunes have been found to be active, as a comparison on different images show that they are moving.

Researchers say that the wind generated on the comet is likely due to pressure coming from the sunlit side to its dark side, according to the CNRS site. The atmosphere that it has though is transient. It is also much lower in terms of pressure as compared to the atmosphere on Earth.

Gravity on the comet is also lower than that on the Earth. With these findings, astronomers are still trying to work out how dunes can form on the comet Chury. Understanding how comets work will require further study, as Science Daily reports. The Rosetta mission and others after it will find out more about comets.

Comets are still being studied and understood by astronomers. There is still much to know about them. A discovery has found that the comet Chury has dunes on it. SpaceX recently has used a historic NASA pad for its launch.

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