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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Most Comets May Be Solar System Aliens
10 June 2010 3:15 pm
Comet McNaught, shown here in a 2007 Earth flyby, may need a passport when it returns later this month. New research suggests that it and trillions of its cousins were actually born light-years away. Computer simulations reported online today in Science reveal that the Oort cloud—a swarm of comets, including McNaught, that orbit the sun far beyond Pluto—contains too many comets for them to have been generated locally. In fact, the simulation suggests, over 90% of the comets in the Oort cloud probably originated around other stars. Billions of years ago, the researchers explain, our solar system congealed along with many others in relatively close proximity inside a nebula—a vast cloud of dust and gas that acts as sort of a galactic hatchery. As the sun condensed and migrated out of the nebula, it carried the rest of our solar system with it. But its gravity also snagged a huge number of comets from the Oort clouds surrounding its siblings in the process. So welcome back, McNaught, regardless of where you came from.
See more ScienceShots.