Atlas of Great Comets by Ronald Stoyan

By Ronald Stoyan

In the course of the a while, comets, enigmatic and gorgeous wandering items that seem for weeks or months, have alternately interested and terrified humankind. the results of 5 years of cautious examine, Atlas of significant Comets is a generously illustrated reference on thirty of the best comets which have been witnessed and documented because the heart a while. specific recognition is given to the cultural and medical effect of every visual appeal, supported by means of a wealth of pictures, from woodcuts, engravings, old work and artifacts, to a exhibit of the simplest astronomical images and pictures. Following the advent, giving the large historic context and a contemporary medical interpretation, the nice Comets characteristic in chronological order. for every, there's a modern description of its visual appeal besides its medical, cultural and historic value. even if you're an armchair astronomer or a professional comet-chaser, this wonderful reference merits a spot in your shelf.

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Remnants of the comet’s tail •• In 1759, the first systematic search for a comet was un­ form the Eta Aquarid and Orionid meteor showers, which dertaken, and Johann Georg Palitzsch succeeded be­ occur when the Earth crosses the comet’s orbit, which is fore Charles Messier inclined at 162° to that of the Earth. 1 AU) beyond Neptune, to just 90 mil­ gramme was undertaken for the first time, in which more lion kilometres from the Sun. While its next aphelion pas­ than 60 observatories on every continent took place sage occurs on 9 December 2025, we will have to wait •• In 1986, there was the first visit by space probes to a almost 50 years for its next return – the comet will only comet, in which European, Japanese and Soviet mis­ be at perihelion on 28 June 2061.

009 AU from the centre of the Sun, which corresponds to distances of between 0 and 700 000 kilo­ metres from the surface of the Sun – many Kreutz comets impact directly onto the Sun, and most break up during their extremely close passages to the Sun. Their orbital periods amount to 500 to 1000 years; the semi-major axis of the orbit is 150 AU; the orbital inclination is about 140°; and the longitude of the ascending node is about 0°. Over 2000 Kreutz comets are known. Most of these bod­ ies are very small (with diameters of up to 130 m) and do not survive perihelion passage.

Rather less than 500 comets return within 200 years. They are known as short-period comets. Most of them actually originated from the outer Solar System, but were ‘captured’ by the gravitational influence of the giant planets, and injected into short-period orbits. Most have undergone many returns; the most famous example is Co­ met Halley, which has an orbital period of about 75 years. Depending on which planet captured the comet, different so-called families of comets have been created. The comets in such families have similar distances when they are farthest from the Sun (at aphelion).

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