In our solar system, comets are the icy leftovers from when the sun and planets formed. They hold the mysteries of that primordial soup.
New opportunities and research techniques are allowing us to peer into the past and answer questions originating from times so distant that they are difficult to fathom.
Here are some of the revelations made possible by science this week.
Comet Bernardinelli-Bernstein, named for the astronomers who found it, is about a thousand times more massive than other comets and between 62 and 124 miles (100 and 200 kilometers) across.
The unusual comet has been making its way toward our sun for millions of years. It likely came from the Oort Cloud, the birthplace of icy, ancient comets and a place more distant from the sun than anything in our solar system. Just imagine what scientists will learn as they observe it for years to come.
A long time ago.
Historians have been able to re-create the home of Thomas Cromwell, notorious chief minister to England’s King Henry VIII — and it turns out that Cromwell and his family lived in a very, very, very fine house (but it’s unknown if they kept cats in the yard). Cromwell was instrumental in passing reforms that allowed the King his many infamous marriage annulments.
An artist’s impression of the building depicts the luxurious 16th-century London mansion, something that cost £1,600 to build from scratch in 1535 — can you guess how much that is now?
If you thought the cicadas were done singing their summer song, say hello to the annual cicadas, appearing in a tree near you as August approaches.
Instead, these little guys are green, and they love to scream during the dog days of summer.
We are family
While studying the urns of an ancient society, researchers stumbled upon the remains of a Bronze Age woman and her twin babies.
Previously, cremated remains have been overlooked in the quest to understand ancient societies. But new research techniques are allowing scientists to understand customs, behaviors and even travel patterns of cultures that practiced cremation.
The Arctic may seem like it’s permanently chilly, but Greenland is experiencing surging temperatures that have triggered its most significant melting event of the year.
As our global temperatures increase, ice loss is on the rise. Surprisingly, this current melting event isn’t a record — in fact, it has been worse.
If we don’t curb our use of products that release greenhouse gases, which trap heat, more extreme melting events are on the horizon.
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