Comet of the Week: Bennett 1969i

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Special Topic: Ancient Ideas about Comets

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Comet of the Week: Comet Hyakutake C/1996 B2

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Special Topic: “Small Bodies” and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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Few, if any, sights in the nighttime sky are more impressive than that of a bright, long-tailed comet. It is little wonder that our ancestors of just a few centuries ago, who had little idea of what they were actually seeing, were amazed and perhaps even terrified of the sight, and even today the appearance …

FEBRUARY 17, 1930:  A bright meteor appears in the sky above the midwestern U.S. and falls to the ground near Paragould, Arkansas. With a total mass of 370 kg, the Paragould meteorite, a stony chondrite, is the second-largest meteorite fall seen from and recovered in North America.  FEBRUARY 17, 1996: The Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) …

Comet 3D/Biela 1846 II’s Perihelion: 1846 February 11.49, q = 0.856 AU  The stories of the first two numbered periodic comets, 1P/Halley and 2P/Encke – both of which are future “Comets of the Week” – are well known. The third numbered periodic comet also has an interesting story, but unlike the earlier two, it will likely …

Five weeks ago I devoted the “Special Topics” presentation to the subject of the Oort Cloud, the large spherical cloud of comets that is believed to enshroud the solar system out to distances of several tens of thousands of Astronomical Units. The comets in the Oort Cloud have been there since the forming Jupiter and …

FEBRUARY 9, 1986: During its most recent return Comet 1P/Halley passes through perihelion at a heliocentric distance of 0.587 AU. Comet Halley’s 1986 return is a future “Comet of the Week,” and its entire history is the subject of a future “Special Topics” presentation.  FEBRUARY 10, 1907: August Kopff at Heidelberg Observatory in Germany discovers …

Comet PANSTARRS C/2017 T2’s Perihelion: 2020 May 4.95, q = 1.615 AU  After devoting my “Comet of the Week” last week to the first comet I ever observed, it seems appropriate to devote this week’s “Comet of the Week” to the brightest comet that is currently visible in our nighttime skies, and which is easily accessible …