Iron And Nickel Found in the Atmosphere of Distant Comets
Iron and nickel have been found even in comets that are three times farther from the Sun than Earth.
Scientists have been studying the atmosphere of comets for the past 20 years, collecting data using high-precision instruments and telescopes. With their help, it became possible to distinguish the lines of individual chemical elements in the comet's atmosphere, even at a great distance from the Sun.
The emission lines of iron and nickel atoms were found in the part of the spectrum where they are lost against the background of bright radiation. It is estimated that for every 100 kilograms of water vapor in the comet's atmosphere, there is only one gram of metals. This explains why iron and nickel have not been seen before during the long years of observation and research.
The discovery suggests that such distant comets are related to local celestial bodies, although scientists still do not know how common in the Milky Way analogues of small bodies of the Solar System.