Famous Comets

“Out to sea, the calm lagoon waters were darkening, while the comets overhead glowed brighter, omens in the gloaming.” ― Julian MayPerseus Spur

A comet is an icy small body in the solar system that when passing close to the Sun, it produces a visible atmosphere or coma from a process called outgassing — Wikipedia. I always hope to see the comet steaming away into the space and passing the night sky with a beautiful tail. Although most people may not get the chance to witness their beauty themselves, some pictures and scientific facts about famous comets will help us understand more about those mysterious objects traveling in the solar system.

  • HALLEY’S COMET

Halley’s Comet is probably the most famous comet in history. It was named after the astronomer Edmund Halley who found out its 76-year orbit. “Halley is the only known short-period comet that is regularly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime.” — Wikipedia. Comet Halley will return to the inner Solar System in the year 2061.

Giotto_halley_br
Halley’s Comet, 1986. Picture from NASA
  • COMET HALE-BOPP

Hale–Bopp was discovered on July 23, 1995 prior to it becoming naked-eye visible on Earth. One if its outstanding traits is its intense brightness, which is due to the exceptionally large size. Comet Hale-Bopp was estimated to have a nuclei about 40 km across, which is way larger than most comets. And Comet Hale-Bopp holds the record for a 19 months period of naked-eye visibility, which is amazing!

Comet_Hale-Bopp_1995O1
Picture from Wikipedia
  • COMET HYAKUTAKE

Comet Hyakutake was first discovered by an amateur astronomer called Yuji Hyakutake  from southern Japan on January 30, 1996 using a pair of binoculars. Then in the spring of that year, this small bright comet with a nucleus of 1.6 to 3,2 km made a close flyby of Earth — sporting one of the longest tails ever observed. — Wikipedia.

 

COMET
Comet Hyakutake. Picture from Explorit

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley%27s_Comet

http://www.explorit.org/astronomy/hyakutake.html

https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/galleries/comet-halley

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