back to article Boffins: Comet Lovejoy is a cosmic booze cruise spewing alcohol across the Solar System

Alcohol is pretty essential to life here on Earth, but for the first time, scientists have found the blessed fluid venting in huge amounts from a comet flying through our Solar System. Comet Lovejoy swung around our sun for the first time in 8,000 years back in January. Astronomers kept a close eye on it because the sunlight …

  1. stuartnz

    If only

    It wasn't in a heliocentric orbit - it could have been truly a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

  2. Keef

    Gérard Depardieu

    At last, a place suitable to home Gérard Depardieu.

  3. Lars Silver badge

    I wonder

    "as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity," said Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory, France," Would a British boffin have talked about x bottles of whisky or beer. Hmm perhaps there is some life in booze after all.

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: I wonder

      Gin and tonic!

      Ignore those skirt wearing savages up north!

      Does this lump of rock have plentiful supplies of juniper berries? Enquiring alcoholics need to know etc...

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Re: I wonder

        Unfortunately in the language of the Lovejoyese "gin and tonic" refers to a drink almost but not entirely like flat Fanta.

        1. Grikath Silver badge

          Re: I wonder

          That may be because the English very much murdered proper gin ( known as Jenever or Schnapps here on the mainland) in an attempt to reproduce it, instead of importing it. Like they did with most things in the category Food and Drink.

          1. x 7 Silver badge

            Re: I wonder

            The truth is, "the English very much perfected proper gin"

            or at least gin based on Juniper. The Germans and Austrians have the advantage with Schnapps from other fruits.

            As to Dutch Genever.........yeuch, totally gut wrenching

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    "as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity,"

    So let's do the math... roughly 10% (depending on white or red wine so 10% is a rough average) so that is 50 bottles of pure alcohol or 500 bottles of alcohol and all the water and flavors.

    Given it's orbiting time, that is some well-aged vino.

    Icon --> Checking for a corkscrew.

    1. Quip

      I've got a dozen cases of wine around here and none of them have an alcohol content of less than 11%, some are 14%. So say 12%

      500 bottles at 0.75 litres per bottle = 375 litres wine; 375 litres @ 12% = 45 litres pure alcohol per second.

      1. LesC

        Propoosing to the Reg Weights & Measures Soviet: if one CAMRA equals the amount of alcohol requiring the required sliding under the table effect (say 4 pints of 7.2% Coastal Erosion Dark) then this is around 276 CAMRAs.

        Beer Icon.... it's beer!


  5. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Don't worry about all that water, when it moves away from the sun, it'll turn to convienient ice cubes.

  6. hatti

    Armageddon on that comet

    Carlsberg don't do comets, but if they did, they would be the best comets in the galaxy.

  7. glen waverley

    no stereotyping but ...

    I think the eponymous Lovejoy, after whom the comet is named, is an Australian.

  8. Kingston Black

    To quote Father Jack..


    1. Anonymous C0ward

      Re: To quote Father Jack..


    2. Fibbles

      Re: To quote Father Jack..


  9. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge


    But how much methyl alcohol (CH3OH) was there? I suspect this is bootleg liquor at its worst.

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    The Reg online standards converter

    "We found that comet Lovejoy was releasing as much alcohol as in at least 500 bottles of wine every second during its peak activity," said Nicolas Biver of the Paris Observatory, France, lead author of a paper on the discovery published October 23 in Science Advances.

    Time to upgrade The Reg online standards converter!

    I've just checked - there is no conversion for 'Alcohol Content'. I suggest a Comet-to-Beer-to-Wine-to-Booze ratio.

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: The Reg online standards converter

      May I suggest some units:

      The Journo, Editor, Bofh, PFY....

      You lads can put 'em in an appropriate order - if your'e sober enough...

      Ad suitable funding project for the big G compo? (see what I did there?)

  11. PleebSmash
    Thumb Up

    space travel targets

    Ahh, this is my kind of comet.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Duty Free?

    Until the next Budget...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ancient Hebrew myths

    In some ancient Hebrew myths (which are probably generic Middle Eastern myths) the sky god sprays semen on the Earth somewhere in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem to create life, and from then on periodically the process repeats on a lesser scale as rain.

    It is beginning to look as if, far from myth, this is early science. [not really]. How did life originally get here? "Well, you know about comets..."

    1. dorsetknob

      Re: Ancient Hebrew myths

      Apparently in those whiskey swilling parts they call the Alcohol that evaporates during maturing "" the Angels Share ""

      the Sky Fairy's are now Confirmed as Piss heads

      makes me think of Norman Greenbaum

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Ancient Hebrew myths

      In some ancient Hebrew myths ... somewhere in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem

      Tough to find as Jerusalem was not even on the map yet? Before David the youthful bruiser set up his local variant of the yurt, there must have been two sheep and a donkey and possibly an olive tree at that place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ancient Hebrew myths

        Naughty. David conquered Jerusalem from the Jebusites (according to the everyone's favourite book of absolute truth). It was definitely there beforehand.

        Archeological records of Jerusalem may go back as far as 4th millenium BC apparently.

  14. x 7 Silver badge

    "the sky god sprays semen"

    Sounds like the sky god was as believable as a flying pig.......does that explain the ban on pork?

  15. oldcoder

    The current location of Callahan's Place

    There was always interesting customers stopping by....

  16. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    By comet

  17. x 7 Silver badge

    Excellent story line for Dr the Doctor landed on a comet and got pissed on the vapor trail. Could he lose his licence for being drunk in charge of the Tardis?

  18. Faux Science Slayer

    Complex molecules introduced to Earth only by comets ? ? ?

    Good Lord...does being a comet naval gazer prohibit any study of Earth geology ? ? ?

    Earth's fission of 2 million cubic miles of Uranium and Thorium produces enormous heat, pressure and 'elemental' atoms in an elemental refinery producing a wide range of complex compounds, including many organic ones, like Hydrocarbons, see

    "Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable" under Geonuclear at the FauxScienceSlayer site.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Complex molecules introduced to Earth only by comets ? ? ?

      If you ask an optician about your headaches, he'll say that you need glasses.

      If you ask an oncologist about your headaches, he'll say you have a brain tumour.

      And so it is with the origins of life on earth.

  19. Eclectic Man

    But seriously

    Would it be possible to use the alcohol and other hydrocarbons as a viable rocket fuel (with liquid Oxygen, of course)?

    (And as for the Doctor getting a bit tipsy on comet alcohol, I would refer the Hon. Gentleman to the HHGTTG:

    Ford Prefect: "Drunk in charge of a time machine is a pretty serious offence. They tend to lock you away in some planet's stone age and tell you to evolve into a more responsible life form.")

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