Comets can be seen in this artistic depiction of the young star Beta Pictoris as seen from the outer edge of its disk.
Credit: NASA/Lynette Cook

Exocomets may be as common as exoplanets

Although only one of the 10 stars thought to harbor comets is known to harbor planets, the fact that all these stars have massive surrounding disks of gas and dust makes it likely they all do.

By University of California, Berkeley — Published: January 7, 2013

Comets trailing wispy tails across the night sky are a beautiful by-product of our solar system’s formation — icy leftovers from 4.6 billion years ago when the planets coalesced from rocky rubble.

The discovery by astronomers at the University of California, Berkeley, and Clarion University in Pennsylvania of six likely comets around distant stars suggests that comets — dubbed “exocomets” — are just as common in other stellar systems with planets.

Though only one of the 10 stars now thought to harbor comets is known to harbor planets, the fact that all these stars have massive surrounding disks of gas and dust — a signature of exoplanets — makes it highly likely they all do, said Barry Welsh from the University of California, Berkeley.

Read more: Exocomets may be as common as exoplanets – Astronomy Magazine.

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