American astronomers have discovered the first candidates for exo-comets – located outside the solar system of the comet. The corresponding study is available on the website arXiv.org, aimed at publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, briefly reported by New Scientist.
Potential exocetes are found near the stars KIC 3542116 and KIC 11084727, located about 800 light years from the Sun. The objects were detected with the help of the Kepler space telescope, which allows detecting exoplanets by a transit method (by changing the luminosity of a star as it travels along its planet’s disk).
As a rule, if a planet passes through the disk of the star, the luminosity variation graph has a symmetrical form. In the case of KIC 3542116 and KIC 11084727, the dependence was asymmetric, which scientists associate with clouds of gas and dust from comet tails.
In total, scientists allow the presence of two to six comets near KIC 3542116, the number of objects around KIC 11084727 is more difficult to estimate (there was only one transit), probably all of them are short-period – a complete revolution around the luminary is performed in less than three months.