Hello Halley, Goodbye and Thanks for the Exciting Memories, Lovejoy.

 

What’s the similarity between the two? Both of them orbit the sun. If you read on you will discover more interesting facts about their other similarities and of course their differences as well.

Halley has an orbital circumference around the sun of about 5.27 billion kilometers which takes it farther than Neptune before it makes a u turn back to appear in our skies once more. It will return to present another heavenly spectacular approximately every 76 years.

Lovejoy on the other hand appears on our skies approximately every 8,000 years. That’s a might wide orbit around the sun. Its orbital circumference is about 90 billion kilometers. It falls short in reaching any quasars, pulsars or black holes.

I won’t make an attempt to compute when Comet Lovejoy will re appear in our skies again. I’d hate to think if the earth will still be here or mankind for that matter.

Halley will be seen in our heavenly skies in 2061.

What are comets really? Picture a snowball while it travels in the air after throwing it. Comets are the same except there are dusts exploding while it travels in the space and that famous tail to boot.

Of course they are made of something much more than frozen water. The body of a comet is made up of ice forms of methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide gases. The accumulation of space dusts in a comet happens during the formation of the solar system. Comets orbit the sun without going out of the boundaries of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Some comets meet their fiery end when their orbit bring them closer to sun and is pulled by the sun’s gravity. They plunge to the gigantic ball of fire, and there goes thousands of years of existence. Comets don’t maintain the same orbit because they are subject to the presence of the planets and their ever changing position.

Halley’s Comet was discovered by an Englishman astronomer Edmund Hailey and the only comet that will possibly appear twice in a person’s lifetime.

Comet Lovejoy was discovered by an Australian amateur astronomer in 2011. For a moment it eclipsed the popularity of the most famous planet of all time, Hailey. No worries there. Lovejoy will be long forgotten before it will come back again to grab the limelight.

Is there a possibility they’ll grace the skies at the same time? That will indeed be a memorable night. But who’ll be watching them then? Some of the later human generations may gaze at them from the moon, Mars, or other earth-like planets lurking just behind Pluto.

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Some corrections are necessary in this essay.

    “Halley has an orbital circumference around the sun of about 12.2 billion kilometers which takes it far beyond Pluto before it makes a u turn back to appear in our skies once more.”
    >>> Not true. The circumference of Comet Halley’s orbit is 11.464 billion km.
    The distance that makes a difference, though, is how far its long elliptical orbit extends from the Sun: 5.248 billion km, which is beyond the orbit of Neptune (average distance 4.498 billion km) and between Pluto’s CLOSEST approach to the Sun (4.436 billion km) and FARTHEST point from the Sun (7.376 billion km). (These data are available on NASA’s Solar System Exploration website, http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/. Pluto will be visited by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft this coming July.)

    “Comets are the same except there are dusts exploding while it travels in the space and that famous tail to boot.”
    >>> Comets are often described as dirty snowballs, though NASA and European Space Agency space probes show that “snowy dirtball” is probably a better description. They are not exploding. As they approach the Sun, the Sun’s heat causes frozen gases (carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) and water to sublimate directly into gases that carry comet dust with them in jets moving at 500-1000 meters/second.

    “Some comets meet their fiery end when their orbit bring them closer to sun and is pulled by the sun’s gravity. They plunge to the gigantic ball of fire, and there goes thousands of years of existence. Comets don’t maintain the same orbit because they are subject to the presence of the planets and their ever changing position.”
    >>> Planets, asteroids, and comets in the Solar System orbit the Sun. While comets’ orbits are slightly changed by the gravitational effects of the planets, the changes due to the rocket effect of their jets is harder to quantify, but even so it is small. Comets that collide with the Sun have probably suffered a catastrophic splitting into two or more smaller comets going around the Sun. The splitting can provide enough impulse on a large, remaining chunk to send it into the Sun.

    “Halley’s Comet was discovered by an Englishman astronomer Edmund Hailey and the only comet that will possibly appear twice in a person’s lifetime.”
    >>> Records of the appearance of Halley’s Comet in the sky show it has been observed for well over 2000 years. It was named for Edmond Halley (rhymes with “alley”) because he was the first to note the orbital similarities of three comets that appeared every 76 years. He successfully predicted its appearance in 1758, which he didn’t live to see.

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