Posts in category

Ice and Stone


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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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 …

MARCH 29, 1807: The German astronomer Heinrich Olbers discovers the asteroid now known as (4) Vesta, the brightest and second-largest asteroid in the main asteroid belt. Vesta was orbited by the Dawn spacecraft between July 2011 and September 2012. It and the other first-known main-belt asteroids are discussed in the Week 1 “Special Topics” presentation.  …

Perihelion: 1970 March 20.04, q = 0.538 AU  One of the underlying foundations of “Ice and Stone 2020” is the fact that it marks the anniversary of my observations of my very first comet, Comet Tago-Sato-Kosaka 1969g – also, incidentally, the first comet ever observed from space. (I discuss this comet, including my observations of …

To our ancestors of several centuries to a few millennia ago, the nighttime sky was, to some extent anyway, a generally predictable place. The stars remained “fixed” relative to each other in the patterns that we call constellations, each culture “seeing” whatever constellations that they considered relevant. While these shifted east-to-west over the course of …

We hope you are enjoying reading the weekly Ice and Stone 2020 content from astronomer Alan Hale. For those who might not be as versed in astronomy terms, he’s put together this glossary of technical terms, many of which are regularly used within the weekly educational content. A Absolute magnitude: for a comet or asteroid, …

MARCH 22, 2016: The tiny Comet PANSTARRS P/2016 BA14 passes just 0.024 AU from Earth, the closest known cometary approach to Earth thus far in the 21st Century and the third-closest known cometary approach to Earth in history. Despite its closeness, it was never brighter than 13th magnitude. This and other close comet approaches to …