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Heads of Comets can be green, but their tails can never be!

The researches done in the past have clarified that the Oort Cloud and Kuiper Belt forcefully throw the cosmic snowballs filled with ice, rocks, and dust. Notably, these are the remains of the solar- system’s formation, and comets result from these snowballs. These comets undergo a vibrant metamorphosis as they collide with the sky. Consequently, the comets’ heads cast the green color that turns radiant as they move to the Sun.

However, the green tint vanishes astonishingly before its collision, with one or two routes moving beyond the comet. The astronomers have also expressed their confused mental states with this secret for around a century. Back in 1930, one of the physicists named Gerhard Herzberg provided his theory related to this phenomenon and claimed that this occurred to the sunlight, which kills the diatomic carbon or the dicarbon (C2).  

Additionally, the expert Gerhard also noted that a chemical is produced during this procedure. The interaction of organic matter and sunlight on the comet’s head, leading to the formation of this unstable dicarbon, making this theory harder to test. However, a study published in ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,’ states that ultimately to analyze this chemical response. The experts believe that the 90-year-old theory to be true.

A chemistry professor at UNSW Science, Timothy Schmidt, has said that he and other experts have proven this reaction via diatomic carbon being smashed up by sunlight. Further, the study’s senior author concluded that this research also details the reason behind those green coma or the distorted layer of gas and dust wrapping the nucleus. The team also explained why these comets shrink when they reach the Sun and why their tail is not green.

Hence, diatomic carbon’s main competitor in the mystery is very reactive and superintendent of this green color theory. This dicarbon results from two carbon atoms that got struck amongst each other. This C2 can be seen only in the highly active or low oxygen habitats such as comets, interstellar medium, and the stars.

This diatomic carbon does not exist on comets, but they get jammed to the Sun. Further, as the Sun begins to heat the comet, the organic matter trapped over the icy nucleus gets vaporized and shifts to the coma. It leads to the breaking of these larger organic molecules to the generation of dicarbon due to the sunlight.

However, the team of UNSW has also depicted that as these comets move closer to the Sun, these conspicuous UV radiations crack apart the diatomic carbon molecules. The creation of this C2 is called ‘photodissociation.’ This procedure also kills this diatomic carbon before moving far from the nucleus, making the green coma more radiant.

The author said that someone in the early 1930s had discovered the scenario of all that was happening. Also, the complete justifications of how all that happened were provided, leading to our discoveries 90 years later.


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