Haley's Comet is Only Comet Visible from Earth with Naked Eye

899 Words4 Pages
A comet is a small icy body that travels in an elliptical orbit around the sun. Halley’s Comet, or 1P/Halley, is the most well-known “periodic” comet that orbits the solar system and returns to Earth’s vicinity approximately every seventy-six years. It is one of the only comets that can be seen from Earth that is visible to the naked-eye, and can appear twice in one’s lifetime. The comet’s last visit was in the year 1986, and it is calculated to return mid-2061.
Halley’s Comet has been sighted and recorded for thousands of years by humans. A comet recorded in ancient Greece around 468 B.C. is thought to be Halley. However, the first ever collection of records about Halley’s Comet is from China in 256 B.C. Two Babylonian clay tablets also reported an appearance of Halley’s Comet from 164 B.C. Halley’s passing of 12 B.C. was noted in the Book of Han by Chinese astronomers of the Han Dynasty, who traced its path from August through October. It passed by within 0.16 Astronomical Units (AU) of Earth. This appearance of Halley in particular led some astronomers and theologians to believe it explained the biblical story of the “Star of Bethlehem;” its arrival was mysteriously close to the birth of Jesus.
Halley’s Comet may have passed within 0.03 AU, or 3.2 million miles from Earth in 837 A.D., which is its closest approach. The comet’s tail extended nearly 60 degrees across the sky. This sighting was written by astronomers in Japan, China, Germany, and the Middle East. Halley was seen in England in 1066, and it was thought to be a bad omen, for later that same year, Harold II of England died. William the Conquerer interpreted Halley as the cause for his success in battle, as the comet is depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry as a flaming ...

... middle of paper ...

...oints that have the same sum of distances to two given fixed points, or foci. This conic can be thought of as a squashed circle, similar to an oval.Halley is categorized as a short-period comet, which means that its orbit lasts 200 years or less. The opposite of this is a long-period comet, indicating an orbit that lasts for thousands of years. Halley is an unusual comet, since regular periodic comets have shorter ecliptics and orbits. A comet with an orbital period between 20 and 200 years and a slant of 20-30 degrees is actually classified as a Halley-type comet. If Halley was ever a long-term comet, it’s presumable that it was created in the Oort Cloud. Recent research has shown that Halley will most likely evaporate or split in two within tens of thousands of years. The comet may also be expelled from the solar system in the next hundreds of thousands of years.

    More about Haley's Comet is Only Comet Visible from Earth with Naked Eye

      Open Document