OCT 29, 2015 7:15 AM PDT

A Sweet, Boozy Surprise From Outer Space


Comets are the rockstars (literally) of the universe. They go zipping through space, trailing spectacular colors, causing meteor showers and making history. The newest performance by a comet is pretty out there though. The comet Lovejoy, named for the Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy that discovered it in 2011, is dragging some sweet surprises. Lovejoy (the comet, not the astronomer) has also been called the "The Great Christmas Comet of 2011" since it was visible from Earth during the Christmas holidays. And it certainly has brought gifts.

A press release from NASA quotes Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory France as saying, "We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity," Biver was the lead author on a paper about the discovery of Lovejoy's 21 different organic molecules which included ethyl alcohol and glycolaldehyde, which is a simple sugar. The paper was published October 23, 2015 in the journal Science Advances. It kind of gives a whole new meaning to bellying up to the bar and ordering a couple of "Cosmos"
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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