Shaken, Not Stirred: Comet Lovejoy Spews Alcohol
Comet ejects alcohol equivalent of 500 bottles of wine a second
Molecules of water, oxygen, sulphur and hydrocarbons are common to comets. But when scientists, including Dr. Stefanie Milam, a researcher with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, looked at Lovejoy, they found a couple of surprises. One was a type of sugar, but the other had never been seen before in a comet.
Lovejoy was releasing vast quantities of ethyl alcohol - the same type we find in alcoholic beverages - at an estimated rate equivalent to 500 bottles of wine per second. Scientists believe the alcohol, along with the other molecules, are preserved material from the gas and dust that formed the solar system.