Great opportunity for scientists to study as the comet comes near earth: Dr. Pankaj Joshi
While the Covid-19 pandemic has spread the gloom around the globe, the earth is ready to witness the rare and precious celestial event in the form of Neowise Comet – coming closer to earth every 6800 years. Researchers, skywatchers and space enthusiasts are enjoying this soon to fade yet amazing sight. Eminent space scientist Dr. Pankaj Joshi has shared insight into this rare phenomenon along with other interesting facts and mystical aspects of space, galaxies and creation of nature.
Dr. Pankaj Joshi, Provost, CHARUSAT and eminent cosmologist talked at length about decoding the myths surrounding the origin of the comet, its famous ‘tail’ as well as theories about the formation of nature. He explained that comet is an orb made of ice, dust and stones which weighs around 70 to 100 km. As it enters into solar system and inches near the sun, due to solar radiation, ice and gas produces many gases and creates a ‘tail’ like formation.
The nucleus of the comet is about 70 to 80 km yet its tail is thousands to lacs km long. Solar X-rays create the tail. Even in its orbit, the comet comes closer and then moves far away. It takes thousands of years for some comets to come back in their orbit. For Neowise Comet it takes 6800 years to come back in the solar system while Halley’s Comet enters into solar orbit in every 75 years.
Comet science is a wonderful and interesting subject to study. NASA conducted a great robotics study about comets in the year 2005. Now that Neowise comet is so close to the earth, it is a ‘not to be missed’ opportunity for scientific studies and a wonderful cosmic spectacle for skywatchers.
Comets contributed greatly for the maximum water bodies on the earth – A theory
Dr. Pankaj Joshi explained that comets are mainly made of ice. There is a theory that when the earth was formed, many comets came closer to earth and collided with it that resulted in the existence of large water bodies on the earth. It is also believed that the evolution of life on earth is also due to comet. The organic molecules in the comet are behind life on the earth – it is speculated. The universe is full of mysteries and wonders leading to curiosity and quest to solve it. The passage of comet Neowise near the earth is one such exceptional opportunity for the scientists.