Astronomers have dubbed an unusual comet a “giant volcano in space” because it blew its top, sending so called “cryomagma”, or ‘cryomagma”, into outer space.

Known as 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann, it is one of the most bizarre objects in the solar system and orbits the sun just beyond Jupiter at 26,000 miles per hour.

SpaceWeatherArchive was written by Dr Tony Phillips, an astronomer who suggested that the 37 mile-wide ball ice could be one the most volcanically active bodies within the solar system.

It “blew its top” at the end September in a series four more intense eruptions that sent “cryomagma” into space. This is liquids that transform to solids after an eruption. It’s similar to molten rocks forming lava from a volcano. 

An unusual comet dubbed a 'giant space volcano' has blown its top, sending so-called 'cryomagma' hurtling into outer space, according to astronomers

Astronomers have dubbed an unusual comet a “giant volcano in space” because it blew its top, sending so-called “cryomagma”, or the space rock, hurtling into outerspace.

Astronomer Dr Tony Phillips wrote on SpaceWeatherArchive that the 37 mile wide ball of ice may be one of the most volcanically active bodies in the solar system

Tony Phillips, an Astronomer, wrote SpaceWeatherArchive about the possibility that the 37-mile-wide ball of ice could be one of the most active volcanic bodies in the solar system.


Comet 29P/Schwassmann–Wachmann was discovered in November 1927 and soon found to be an unusually active object, similar to a volcano in space.

It experiences sudden outbursts, which cause it to become significantly more brighter, approximately 20 per year.

These are eruptions where cryomagma is released from ice volcanoes that may be present on the surface. 

Outbursts can be very sudden and peak in two hours. 

Aphelion: 6.25 Australian dollars

Perihelion: 5.722 Australian Dollars

Dimensions37 miles    

Spin on the axis: 57 Days 

Recent observations suggest that it erupts around 20 times per annum. The most recent outburst was the most energetic in 40 year. 

Dr Richard Miles from the British Astronomical Association is part of an observatory that tracks eruptions. He said, ‘In just 56 hours, four eruptions were observed in rapid succession, creating what was called a’superoutburst’. 

Dr Phillips wrote on SpaceWeatherArchive that it strained the definition of “comet” and suggested that a “giant space volcano” might be a better description.

The comet’s most recent eruption blew’shells’ of ‘cryomagma into space. Dr Phillips reported on the monitoring of the phenomenon.

Eliot Herman, amateur astronomer says that it initially looked like a bright and compact object. But now, the expanding cloud is 1.3 miles wide and transparent enough to allow background stars to shine through. 

In astronomy an arcminute is a measurement of how large something appears in the night sky, with the full moon’s average apparent size about 31 arcminutes.

Although Comet 29P’s outbursts don’t seem to be a new phenomenon, astronomers thought it was just like any other iceball when it was discovered in 1927. 

It was caught in a near circular orbit between Jupiter, Saturn, and the two largest planets of the solar system. However, it quickly erupted, proving its not ‘ordinary. 

Expert on 29P, Dr Miles said that he believes the comet has ice volcanoes. This means that instead of lava, the magma contains a cold mixture of liquid hydrocarbons.

They are also known as cyrovolcanos. Astronomers and planetary scientists predict that they will form on icy moons or other bodies with a lot of water and little sunlight. 

He designed a model that suggests that there is cryomagma underneath the surface of the comet. It contains a spinkling dust and is suffused in dissolved gases.

Some places will have this’magma,’ which is similar to wax in Earth magma. When a fissure in the comet is opened, the bottled-up volatiles explode.

It is thought that it erupts about 20 times per year, according to recent observations, and the most recent outburst is the most energetic in 40 years

According to recent observations, it is believed that it erupts approximately 20 times per year. The most recent eruption was the most energetic in 40-years.

During its most recent eruption the comet blew 'shells of 'cryomagma' into space.,' explained Dr Phillips, reporting on the work to monitor the phenomenon

According to Dr Phillips, who reported on the observation of the phenomenon, the comet blew’shells filled with cryomagma’ into space during its most recent eruption.

The object rotates about its axis every 56.7 days. Regular observations have shown active vents on one side with at most six sources.

 Most outbursts fade away within a week, according to the report in SpaceWeatherArchive, but the most recent is still visible, with a magnitude of between 10 and 11 – within the range of a back garden telescope.

Herman explained that Comet 29P can be viewed with an 8-inch’scope’, SpaceWeatherArchive.

It will appear as a bright dot in smaller instruments. I used the big half-meter to resolve the cloud, and photograph individual stars shining through it.