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Week 14


Special Topic: Ancient Ideas about Comets

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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 …