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Valz Jean Elias Benjamin
2009-04-28 16:55:25

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
2004-10-19 04:45:41

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,...

Halleys Comet
2004-10-19 04:45:40

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...

Comet Encke
2004-10-19 04:45:40

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...

Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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