Scientists have discovered a comet without a tail, making it the first of its kind. The discovery of the comet could give astronomers clues regarding the formation of the solar system, Reuters reports. Perhaps this doesn’t sound quite as much fun as the booze-spewing comet scientists found last year, but here’s a fact for you: the tailless comet is named after a breed of cats without tails. Cute? Sure!
The “Manx” comet is composed of rocky materials, which means it was likely formed in a region of the solar system close to Earth, according to Reuters. Most comets, which form far away from Earth, are made up of ice and other “frozen compounds.” Usually, as these comets move toward the sun, the ice vaporizes off their bodies, creating a “tail.”
It’s still cute though!
Scientists believe the Manx comet may have existed far out in the solar system for a long time, because when it was found, it was frozen in “pristine” condition. This means, if the Manx comet was formed near Earth, it was later thrust out into the further edges of the solar system. This movement could provide astronomers with more details about solar system dynamics.
The comet’s scientific (and much less fun name) is C/2014 S3. It was discovered in 2014, but the findings were just published this week, according to Reuters. Scientists are now hoping to discover more Manx comets in the solar system.