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Incoming interstellar comet Borisov has a poisonous tail


The first interstellar comet: c / 2019 Q4

Gemini Observatory / NSF / AURA

The first comet that visits our solar system from another star system does not come with gifts. What sets off comet 2I / Borisov is poisonous gas that can be made from cyanide compounds.

In a recent issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters, astronomers reported that they had detected CN gas, a molecule of a carbon atom and a nitrogen atom, linked together in the comet's atmosphere.

The discovery does not mean that intergalactic aliens have shot a cometary canister of tear gas through the cosmos. Rather, it shows that comets from outside the solar system can be very similar to the local we are constantly seeing, which also involves CN gas.

"We could have expected a very different composition, as we do not know the origin and history of this object, which was likely to travel for millions of years between the stars before it reached us," Emmanuel Jehin of the University of Liège in a publication explained. "This would suggest that the physical and chemical processes involved in the formation of these small bodies, which are the building blocks of planets and possibly the source of water and organic material on Earth, are very common in the galaxy."

poison gas was discovered behind other comets. When Earth drifted over the tail of Halley's comet more than a century ago, the New York Times quoted a French astronomer who said the comet's tail might "obliterate all life on the planet."

Obviously, this did not happen then, because the Earth's atmosphere is significant and can easily disperse the poisonous tail of a space rock.

There is much less to worry about, as the comet Borisov will not be very close to Earth and will be out of Mars' orbit on his way through the solar system.

It's definitely okay to breathe easily when it gets closer in the next few weeks.

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