Heavy metal space rock

Scientists unexpectedly find heavy metal vapours in comets both near and far.

An image of the fuzzy bright blue atmosphere of a comet, superimposed with graphs showing the spectroscopy results indicating the presence of iron and nickel.
The detection of the heavy metals iron (Fe) and nickel (Ni) in the fuzzy atmosphere of a comet are illustrated in this image, which features the spectrum of light of C/2016 R2 (PANSTARRS) on the top left superimposed to a real image of the comet taken with the SPECULOOS telescope at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. Credit: ESO/L. Calçada, SPECULOOS Team/E. Jehin, Manfroid et al.