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Week 51


Comet of the Week: The Great Comet of 1680

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Special Topic: “Families” and Groups

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DECEMBER 13, 2012: China’s Chang’e 2 mission encounters the Apollo-type asteroid (4179) Toutatis, coming to within 3.2 km of the asteroid. Chang’e 2 and other missions to the solar system’s “small bodies” are discussed in a previous “Special Topics” presentation.  DECEMBER 14, 1807: A meteorite falls to the ground near Weston, Connecticut. An ordinary chondrite, …

Perihelion: 1680 December 18.49, q = 0.006 AU  This particular comet was undoubtedly one of the brightest comets of the 17th Century, but it is also one of the most important comets in history from a scientific perspective, and perhaps even from the perspective of overall human history. While there were certainly plenty of superstitions attached …

A detailed examination of a catalog of orbital elements of comets and/or asteroids will reveal that the orbits therein are not entirely random; rather, there will appear to be various objects that seem to share similar orbits. While in some instances these resemblances may be coincidental, in many more cases the similarities are real, and …