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Week 53


Comet of the Week: Kohoutek 1973f

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Special Topic: Putting It All Together

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DECEMBER 27, 1984: A team of American meteorite hunters finds the meteorite ALH 84001 in the Allan Hills region of Antarctica. This meteorite was found to have come from Mars, and in 1996 a team led by NASA scientist David McKay reported the presence of possible “microfossils” and other evidence of potential biological activity within …

Perihelion: 1973 December 28.43, q = 0.142 AU  This comet’s story starts about two years before its actual discovery when Brian Marsden (at the IAU’s Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) performed some orbital calculations of the long-lost periodic Comet 3D/Biela (a previous “Comet of the Week”). The comet had not been seen since the mid-19th Century …

  When I first began reading about the solar system as an elementary school student in the mid-1960s, it seemed to be a much simpler place than what we know today. There was the sun, around which orbited nine planets; some of these planets had moons, Jupiter having the most with 12. Between Mars and …