Posts in category

Topic


Special Topic: Ancient Ideas about Comets

Read More

Special Topic: “Small Bodies” and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Read More

Special Topic: Resources in “Small Bodies”

Read More

Special Topic: Comet 1P/Halley

Read More

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 …

The “visible” light that our eyes see, and that most of our telescopes detect, is only a very small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The full EM spectrum encompasses everything from the long-wavelength, low-frequency, low-energy radio waves, on down through infrared, then “visible” or optical light, and then into the shorter-wavelength, higher-frequency, and higher-energy ultraviolet, …

NASA spacecraft arrival at Pysche asteroid artwork

When it comes to their composition and internal structure, there is a wide variety among the asteroids. We know this primarily through two means: the study of the various meteorites that have landed on Earth – the subject of a future “Special Topics” presentation – and examination of their spectrum. Although asteroids do not give …

To our ancestors of just a few centuries ago, comets were, at best, mysterious objects, very possibly of divine or supernatural origin. When one considers that bright comets could appear anywhere in the nighttime sky, seemingly out of nowhere, and after being visible for a few days or weeks would then disappear, it is little …

Once it had become clear that comets are bona fide members of the solar system just as planets and asteroids are, the question then becomes just what their physical nature might be. While they may appear to be fairly large in our nighttime sky, the fact that background stars shine through their tails and their …

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 …