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Week 36


Special Topic: The Kuiper Belt

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AUGUST 30, 1979: The SOLWIND coronagraph aboard the U.S. Defense Department’s P78-1 satellite records images of a bright comet approaching the sun, and then disintegrating. This comet, the first comet ever to be discovered from space, turned out to be a Kreutz sungrazer, and was the first of several comets discovered by SOLWIND prior to …

Perihelion: 1979 August 30.95, q = 0.005 AU  The very first comet I ever observed, Comet Tago-Sato-Kosaka 1969g – a previous “Comet of the Week” – was also the first comet ever to be observed from space, an event which took place in mid-January 1970. Since that time many, many comets have been observed by …

Where the various comets that we see in our skies come from has long been a subject of high scientific interest. The Week 3 “Special Topics” presentation discussed how in the mid-20th Century the Dutch astronomer Jan Oort proposed the existence of the structure that we now call the “Oort Cloud” as being the source …