Latest Comets Stories
New photos of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko obtained by ESA’s Rosetta Probe reveal the comet has an extremely irregular shape and is likely a contact binary, meaning that it is comprised of two distinct parts that gravitate towards each other and ultimately form a single odd-looking body.
Comet Siding Spring will brush astonishingly close to Mars later this year – but UMD astronomers say it won't harm three spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet.
A spacecraft from Earth is about to do something no spacecraft has ever done before: orbit a comet and land on its surface.
Researchers from the Universities Space Research Association observed the comet 209P/LINEAR which was responsible for the recent Camelopardalids meteor shower of May 2014. Comets rarely come this close to Earth, making it an extraordinary opportunity to get images of the surface.
While the general public is disappointed about the outcome of comet ISON’s perihelion, scientists are thrilled in the data this object was able to bring to the community.
Just prior to its closest approach to the sun on November 28, Comet ISON went through a major heating event, and likely suffered a major disruption. At this time, scientists are not sure how much of the comet survived intact.
In true soap opera fashion, the enigmatic comet ISON has followed a somewhat tumultuous lifestyle. It has kept us on the edge of our seats like a good cliffhanger, and excited us when we least expected it to.
As Comet ISON heads toward its closest approach to the sun — known as perihelion — on Nov. 28, 2013, scientists have been watching through many observatories to see if the comet has already broken up under the intense heat and gravitational forces of the sun.
The journey of Comet ISON has been a cinematic one, particularly because its existence was not even known until September of last year. Since then, the comet has garnered international attention from amateur and professional astronomers around the world; and while much is known about the comet even more is unknown.
Comet ISON has sprouted wings, which may suggest the nucleus of ISON is breaking apart.
Jean Elias Benjamin Valz was born on May 27, 1787 in Nimes in France. He was formally trained as an engineer, but he became intrigued with astronomy, specifically comets, after witnessing the return of the Comet Encke. Before leaving his home to become the Director of the Marseille Observatory, he built a private observatory in it. He theorized that abnormalities in the orbit of Halley's Comet could be explained by a planet beyond Uranus. Scientist would later discover this planet and...
Comet -- A comet is a small body from the outer reaches of the solar system similar to an asteroid but composed of ice. Often described as "dirty snowballs," they are composed largely of carbon dioxide ice, methane ice, and water ice with a mixture of dust and small stony aggregates mixed in. Comets are thought to be small pieces of debris left over from the formation of the solar system, representing a sample of the original composition of the nebula that condensed to form the Sun and all...
Halley's Comet -- Comet Halley, more generally known as Halley's Comet after Edmond Halley, is the best-known and the brightest of the "short-period" comets from the Kuiper belt that visit the inner solar system in years or decades-long orbits rather than the millennia of comets from the Oort Cloud. Early History Having perceived that the elements of the comet of 1682 were nearly the same as those of two comets which had appeared respectively in 1531 and 1607, Halley concluded that...
Comet Encke -- Because of its proximity to the Sun and its stable orbit, comet Encke is probably one of the most evolved comets that still remains active. It may represent a transition object between an active comet and the defunct comets that are thought to make up a significant percentage of the near-Earth asteroid population. The orbit of comet Encke is very stable both in its size and orientation because it can pass no closer to Jupiter than about 0.9 AU. This orbital stability...
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