66 million years ago, a massive object hit the Earth, making most of life extinct, including dinosaurs. The object in question is not an asteroid, as is commonly thought, but a fragment of a comet reaching the far reaches of the solar system.
About 7 kilometers bigPublished on Monday in Scientific Reports, the piece will come from a comet erupting from the Oort cloud from “a cloud of debris” located on the edge of the solar system.
Before crashing into today’s Mexican Yucatan Peninsula, Chixulbul, the comet was pushed toward the Sun by Jupiter’s gravitational bridge, the largest planet in our system.
Jupiter then acts “like a pinball machine”, sending these so-called “long-term” comets back “orbiting them very close to the Sun,” Amir Siraj, the study’s lead author and astrophysicist at Harvard The student reported, AFP. There, facing the Sun’s attraction force, “the largest comets burst into more than 1000 pieces,” he said.
“A meteor shower”
Each of the fragments, one of which would have been carried toward the Earth, “is probably a large event, which causes an event similar to that which killed the dinosaurs,” says Amir Siraj. To arrive at this conclusion, the two scientists behind the study performed gravity simulations on the data available on the Oort cloud and the motion of the planets.
Geologist Thierry Adatte of the University of Lausanne told the forum that this comet was certainly not the only one to strike the Earth: “We used to have a kind of meteor shower that would spread over 200,000 years, with a much larger comet. – The one that would have caused the death of the dinosaurs – but before or after comets existed, which would have put even more stress on the biosphere. “
>> Full interview with Thierry Edatte in the forum:
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