Comet of the Week: Ikeya-Seki 1965f

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Special Topic: Kreutz Sungrazers

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Comet of the Week: Siding Spring C/2013 A1

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Special Topic: 1I/‘Oumuamua

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APRIL 13, 2029: The near-Earth asteroid (99942) Apophis will pass just 0.00026 AU from Earth, slightly less than 5 Earth radii above the surface and within the orbital distance of geosynchronous satellites. At this time this is the closest predicted future approach of a near-Earth asteroid. The process of determining future close approaches like this …

Perihelion: 2002 March 18.98, q = 0.507 AU  One of the many successful Japanese comet hunters of the 1960s was Kaoru Ikeya who, coming from a family of modest means, built a homemade telescope for the equivalent of US$20 and began to hunt comets with it. He discovered his first comet in 1963 and would …

During the third week of July 1994 the various fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 1993e impacted Jupiter, liberating enormous amounts of energy in the process and creating large planet-sized “scars” in Jupiter’s atmosphere that lingered for some time afterwards. (Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 and these events are discussed in a future “Comet of the Week” presentation.) …

APRIL 5, 1861: An amateur astronomer in New York, A.E. Thatcher, discovers a 9th-magnitude comet. Comet Thatcher was found to have an approximate orbital period of 415 years and is the parent comet of the Lyrid meteor shower, which peaks around April 22 each year. The Lyrids usually put on a modest display of less …

Perihelion: 2024 April 21.00, q = 0.781 AU  For this week’s “Comet of the Week” I am turning my eye towards the near-term future: a comet that I hope to see within the next few years.  While there perhaps is no exact formal definition of the term, the phrase “Halley-type comet” is generally used for …

A significant part of our knowledge about the “small bodies” of our solar system has come from the various spacecraft missions that have been to – or at least by – some of them. I’ll be covering these missions as a whole in a future “Special Topics” presentation, and where appropriate I am including results from …