An international team of astronomers made a surprising discovery recently. They found that the Lovejoy comet is spewing a mixture of alcohol, sugar and 21 other organic compounds as it speeds through our galaxy. "Comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity," Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory, said in a press statement.
Astronomers first spotted Lovejoy in 2014, though that wasn't hard given that it is among the brightest comets to travel through the solar system since Hale-Bopp in 1997. As it neared the apex of its approach to the Sun back in January, and basked in Sol's warming glow, Lovejoy began dumping as much as 20 tons of water and other compounds per second. See, as comets get within range of the Sun, its radiant energy causes the comets' molecules to glow at specific microwave frequencies. The international team spotted these organic compounds using 30-meter telescope.
"The next step is to see if the organic material being found in comets came from the primordial cloud that formed the solar system or if it was created later on, inside the protoplanetary disk that surrounded the young sun," Dominique Bockelée-Morvan from Paris Observatory, said in a statement.