Comet of the Week: 67P/Churyomov-Gerasimenko

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Special Topic: Life in Martian Meteorites?

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Comet of the Week: NEOWISE C/2020 F3

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Special Topic: Terrestrial Impact Craters

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MAY 10, 1999: The LINEAR survey in New Mexico discovers the near-Earth asteroid now known as (162173) Ryugu. Ryugu was the destination of JAXA’s Hayabusa2 sample-return mission, which arrived there in mid-2018 and departed there late last year, and which is now en route back to Earth with its collected samples. The Hayabusa2 mission is …

Perihelion: 1983 May 21.25, q= 0.991 AU  On January 25, 1983, the InfraRed Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) spacecraft was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. For the next ten months, until its supply of superfluid liquid helium coolant ran out, IRAS surveyed the entire sky in near- to far-infrared wavelengths, and its findings completely …

The “Comet of the Week” this week is Comet IRAS-Araki-Alcock 1983d, which passed just 0.031 AU (4.68 million km, or 12.2 lunar distances) from Earth on May 11, 1983 – the closest confirmed cometary approach to Earth during the 20th Century, and the fifth-closest confirmed such approach in all of recorded history. Within this context, …

MAY 3, 1998: Solar scientist Shane Stezelberger discovers a bright comet traversing the northern field of view of the LASCO C3 coronagraph aboard the SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft. Comet SOHO C/1998 J1, which passed through perihelion five days later at a heliocentric distance of 0.153 AU and then became a naked-eye object visible …

Perihelion: 2020 May 31.04, q= 0.251 AU  Last year, when I selected the various comets I would be using for “Ice and Stone 2020”’s “Comets of the Week,” I did so with the knowledge – and even hope – that I might find it necessary to swap one or more such selections for current comets …

In astronomy, an occultation – which comes from Latin words meaning “to hide” – occurs when one body passes in front of, and thus for a time hides, another body. (In this context, a solar eclipse can be considered as a kind of occultation.) In its most common usage, an occultation usually refers to the …