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Special Topic: Ancient Ideas about Comets

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Special Topic: “Small Bodies” and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

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Special Topic: Resources in “Small Bodies”

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Special Topic: Comet 1P/Halley

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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 …

In previous “Special Topics” presentations I have focused on asteroid populations in the “main asteroid belt” between Mars and Jupiter, and on asteroids in near-Earth space. If, however, as is now widely believed to be the case, asteroids are among the “leftovers” of the planet formation process, we would accordingly expect asteroids to exist in …

All astronomers, be they professional or amateur, or even just casual sky-watchers, have often had to contend with the vagaries of the earth’s atmosphere. Clouds will often get in the way, especially at inopportune times; almost every astronomer can recite stories of important observations that were precluded by cloudy weather. Even if the skies are …

It is now generally accepted that the planets in our solar system formed via the accumulation of smaller bodies dubbed “planetesimals” – which in turn formed from the accumulation of dust grains and (in the outer and thus colder regions) gas molecules – early in its history. Due to the early sun’s rotation the infalling …

Two weeks ago I devoted the “Special Topics” presentation to the subject of near-Earth asteroids. Up until almost the end of the 19th Century all of the over 400 asteroids that had been discovered up to that time orbited within the “main asteroid belt” between Mars and Jupiter, and the astronomers of that era were …

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. …