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Ice and Stone


Comet of the Week: 3D/Biela 1846 II

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Special Topic: Stellar Intruders

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Special Topic: Centaurs

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Special Topic: Comet observations from space

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When examined from the standpoint of orbital characteristics, comets appear to come in one of two broad categories: short-period and long-period. Short-period comets, as this term implies, have relatively short orbital periods and often have been observed at numerous returns, while long-period comets, obviously, have long orbital periods and usually have only been observed once. …

While, strictly speaking, it is not a “near-Earth” asteroid, an important asteroid has been discovered since I first put up this presentation. On January 4, 2020, the Zwicky Transient Facility survey, based at Palomar Observatory in California, discovered an 18th-magnitude object which was formally designated as 2020 AV2 when its discovery was announced on January …

JANUARY 5, 2005: The Kuiper Belt object now known as (136199) Eris is discovered by Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz on images taken in October 2003. Eris travels around the sun in a moderately-inclined and moderately eccentric orbit with a period of 558 years; it has one known moon (Dysnomia) and turns out …

Comet Machholz C/2004 Q2’s Perihelion: 2005 January 24.91, q = 1.205 AU Beginning with French astronomer Charles Messier and his contemporaries in the mid- to late 18th Century, the vast majority of comets were discovered visually by amateur astronomers who regularly swept the skies looking for these objects. While this means of comet discovery began …

Last week’s topic concerned the asteroids that occupy the so-called “main asteroid belt” between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The overwhelming majority of the first several hundred asteroids discovered, and, indeed, a large majority of the asteroids known today, reside in this region. However, as years went by and more and more asteroids kept …

Ice and Stone 2020 is a new weekly series of educational material focusing on some of the small bodies of the solar system – comets and asteroids. The Earthrise Institute, a non-profit educational organization founded by Comet Hale-Bopp co-discoverer Alan Hale, is partnering with RocketSTEM and the La Cumbres Observatory to release the material for FREE online …