Astrophysicists marvel at the atypical composition of Comet C / 2016 R2

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Astrophysicists marvel at the atypical composition of Comet C / 2016 R2

Specialists from the University of South Florida (United States of America) conducted a new study with which they were able to determine that C / 2016 R2 (Pan-STARRS) has an unusual composition, which includes a large amount of carbon monoxide and very little hydrogen cyanide.

This space object was discovered in September 2016. Astronomers have determined that the comet belongs to the Oort cloud and rotates in its orbit, whose period is about 20 thousand years, around our star at a distance of 740 astronomical units. In addition, it is known that the coma (a cloud of dust and gas surrounding the nucleus of the comet) of the caudate traveler is blue.

Specialists Katzper Vierzhchos and Maria Vomak observed C / 2016 R2 using a powerful telescope located in the US state of Arizona. Then it was possible to analyze the presence of carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide in the composition of the celestial body.

So, astrophysicists for the first time managed to find radiation that corresponds to neutral molecules of carbon monoxide. It turned out to be very intense, which made it clear that the comet contained a huge amount of carbon monoxide. But hydrogen cyanide, on the contrary, is observed very little, which is an atypical case for such objects.

Thus, the authors of the study can confidently state, based on the data obtained, that the chemical composition of C / 2016 R2 is not typical for comets. This statement is also supported by the fact that experts have identified an ultrahigh molecular nitrogen content in the space object under study, and this is also considered a deviation from the norm.

Obviously, experts are faced with a very unusual comet, the history of the formation of which has yet to be studied. To this end, additional studies will be conducted.

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