PerspectivePlanetary Science

The Death of a Comet and the Birth of Our Solar System

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1307-1309
DOI: 10.1126/science.1061654

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Summary

In his Perspective, Boehnhardt describes the apparition and demise of comet LINEAR, which was observed intensively between 1 October 1999 and its fatal breakup on 21 to 22 July 2000. Comets are among the oldest objects in our solar system, having remained essentially unaltered since they were formed out of the original dust cloud some 4.6 billion years ago. Observations of comet LINEAR provide insights into important questions such as how comets may have formed from smaller segments.