A Swiss amateur astronomer has discovered a new comet. It is one of only five comets to be discovered from Switzerland since the 17th century.
Comets are large, but fragile balls of dust, ice, and carbon-based molecules believed to be primitve materials left over from the creation of our star system. Some believe that comets brought ice, and therefore water, to our planet which in turn helped spawn organic compounds and eventually, life. Some 200 comets are currently documented, the most famous of which is Halley’s Comet.
The latest one to be discovered has a diameter of 20,000 kilometres and has been named Oryafter Michel Ory the discoverer. He spotted it from the Vicques Observatory in Jura, Switzerland when he noticed this point moving across the night ski and then coming back a few days later.
Ory has already discovered some 50 asteroids, but this was his first comet.