Mystery of Comet Holmes

Comet Holmes
Comet Holmes

The Spitzer Space Telescope has taken images of Comet Holmes, the comet that suddenly flared late last year during its six-year orbit around the Sun. The last time the comet erupted was over a hundred years ago, and astronomers are puzzled by what may have caused it to suddenly explode and brighten a millionfold. The comet is also odd in that the streamers from the comet are no longer pointing away from the Sun as in most active comets.

I wonder what might be causing the comet to flare? Crazy idea: the comet is a run-down automated starship that is trying to fix itself over a hundred year period but shoddy repairs cause the engine to sputter out. Mundane idea: chemical reactions within the comet steadily raise pressure until it explodes. A confession: I don't really have a clue.

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