Dec 4, 2019

Newfound interstellar comet shines as it moves closer to the Sun

Miriam Kramer, author of Space

Photo: Pieter van Dokkum/Cheng-Han Hsieh/Shany Danieli/Gregory Laughlin

An interstellar comet spotted earlier this year is on its way to its close approach to the Sun this month, giving astronomers a close-up view of the visitor from outside our solar system.

What's happening: A new photo taken by Yale astronomers shows Comet 2l/Borisov's 100,000-mile-long tail and 1-mile-across nucleus in new detail.

Details: Astronomers are keeping a close eye on the comet in order to learn all they can about the composition of the interstellar object before it leaves our solar system in the coming months.

  • Images of the comet can help scientists learn about its chemical makeup and how similar or different it is to our own solar system.
  • So far, scientists have found that the comet appears to look quite similar to those found in our solar system, but as the interstellar visitor gets even closer, telescopes should be able to take more images, revealing not-yet-seen details about the object.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: Protesters clash with police nationwide over George Floyd

Police officers grapple with protesters in Atlanta. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray as the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd spread nationwide on Friday evening.

The big picture: Police responded in force in cities ranging from Atlanta to Des Moines, Houston to Detroit, Milwaukee to D.C. and Denver to Louisville. In Los Angeles, police declared a stretch of downtown off limits, with Oakland issuing a similar warning.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court sides with California on coronavirus worship service rules

The Supreme Court has ruled 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court's liberal justices, to reject a challenge to California's pandemic restrictions on worship services.

Why it matters: This is a setback for those seeking to speed the reopening of houses of worship, including President Trump.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 5,923,432— Total deaths: 364,836 — Total recoveries — 2,493,434Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,745,930 — Total deaths: 102,808 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  6. 1 sports thing: NCAA outlines plan to get athletes back to campus.