Comet ‘Lovejoy’ Releases Alcohol: Equivalent of 500 Bottles of Wine Per Second
There is a comet racing through outer space that has earned the nickname ‘happy hour’. It’s the comet ‘Lovejoy’ and is leaving behind it a trail of alcohol and sugar as it goes through the solar system.
The comet, formerly known as C/2014Q2, now ‘Lovejoy’, released 20 tons of water per second when it passed close to the sun on January 30th. It was determined at that time Ethyl alcohol was present. That is the same found in alcoholic beverages.
During peak activity, the comet was spewing the equivalent of 500 bottle of wine per second. It only happens when the comet comes close to the sun and releases materials making it visible.
Don’t think you can drink this stuff though. Alcohol and sugar where just two of 21 elements released, they also found poisonous elements like formaldehyde. The discovery adds evidence that comets slamming into early Earth could have been a source of organic molecules needed for life to develop.
‘Lovejoy’ is one of the solar systems most active comets, meaning it spews the most material.