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Astronomers find strange ‘Manx’ comet that lacks a tail and may hold clues to Earth’s formation

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Astronomers have found a first-of-its-kind tailless comet whose composition may offer clues into long-standing questions about the solar system’s formation and evolution, according to research published on Friday in the journal Science Advances.

The so-called “Manx” comet, named after a breed of cats without tails, was made of rocky materials that are normally found near Earth. Most comets are made of ice and other frozen compounds and were formed in solar system’s frigid far reaches.

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Researchers believe the newly found comet was formed in the same region as Earth, then booted to the solar system’s backyard like a gravitational slingshot as planets jostled for position.

Scientists involved in the discovery now seek to learn how many more Manx comets exist, which could help to resolve debate over exactly how and when the solar system settled into its current configuration.

“Depending how many we find, we will know whether the giant planets danced across the solar system when they were young, or if they grew up quietly without moving much,” paper co-author Olivier Hainaut, an astronomer with the European Southern Observatory in Germany, said in a statement.

The new comet, known as C/2014 S3, was discovered in 2014 by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, or Pan-STARRS. This network of telescopes scours the night-time skies for fast-moving comets, asteroids and other celestial bodies.

Typically comets coming in from the same region as the Manx grow bright tails as they approach the sun, the result of ice vaporizing off their bodies and gleaming in reflected sunlight.

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But C/2014 S3 was dark and virtually tailless when it was spotted about twice as far away from the sun as Earth.

Later analysis showed that instead of ices typically found on comets, the Manx comet contained materials similar to the rocky asteroids located in a belt between Mars and Jupiter.

And C/2014 S3 appeared pristine, an indication that it had been in the solar system’s deep freeze for a long time, said University of Hawaii astronomer Karen Meech, the lead author.

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The discovery of additional Manx comets could help scientists to refine computer models used to simulate the solar system’s formation, Meech said.

(Reporting by Irene Klotz; editing by Letitia Stein and Diane Craft)

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‘Stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough’: GOP’s Liz Cheney goes off on Trump after being asked about masks

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Wednesday broke ranks with President Donald Trump and said he should stop promoting baseless conspiracy theories about MSNBC's Joe Scarborough murdering a staffer 20 years ago.

As reported by Politico's Jake Sherman, Cheney brought up the president's murder conspiracy theories unprompted during an interview with reporters who had originally asked her about wearing face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I do think the president should stop tweeting about Joe Scarborough," she said. "We’re in the middle of a pandemic. He’s the commander in chief of this nation. And it’s causing great pain to the family of the young woman who died."

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BUSTED: Trump flack Kayleigh McEnany has voted by mail 11 times in the last 10 years

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Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany this week echoed President Donald Trump's statements that allowing everyone to vote by mail would result in an unprecedented surge in "voter fraud."

However, a review conducted by the Tampa Bay Times has found that McEnany herself has voted by mail a total of 11 times in the past decade alone.

"In fact, the Tampa native has voted by mail in every Florida election she has participated in since 2010," the Tampa Bay Times has found. "Most recently, she voted by mail in the state’s March 2020 presidential primary, just as Trump did after he made Florida his new permanent home."

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Kentucky militant’s wife plays victim after militia leader fired for hanging governor in effigy

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A right-wing militant was fired for hanging Kentucky's governor in effigy during a lockdown protest -- and his wife is furious.

Terry Bush, president of the Kentucky 3 Percenters militia group, lost his job Tuesday with Neil Huffman Auto Group after he was photographed and recorded hanging Gov. Andy Beshear in effigy before demonstrators gathered outside the governor's mansion and demanded that he come outside, reported the Courier-Journal.

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