By Miller R.

While one technological know-how fiction writer known as the asteroids "ten thousand fleas at the lifeless puppy of night," he was once merely reflecting the put out of your mind astronomers as soon as had for those mysterious objects-most of which have been thought of little greater than nuisances. this day, astronomers have a complete new recognize for asteroids, comets, and meteors. The collision of an asteroid with Earth could have spelled the top of the dinosaurs-and a destiny collision may perhaps finish existence as we all know it on our planet. Likewise, the icy mounds referred to as comets should not simply infrequent, swish apparitions within the evening sky, they're one of the finest items within the sun approach, probably retaining clues to the beginning of the sun approach itself. This ebook explores those little-known yet attention-grabbing denizens of outer house.

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The solar system is surrounded by a vast, spherical cloud of icy bodies called the Oort cloud. This is the source of most long-period comets. In the late 1940s, Dutch astronomer Jan Oort wondered about the origin of long-period comets. This implies the existence of a vast, spherical cloud of comets orbiting far beyond Pluto. It might contain, he calculated, at least 190 billion comets. 3 trillion km, 200,000 AU, or 3 light-years) from the Sun! 3 light years away, so it can be said that the outer limits of our solar system extend nearly three-quarters of the way to the next star in space.

COMET HUNTERS What Are Comets? Comets are named after their discoverers, or codiscoverers if two people report the comet at the same time. If the discoverer finds more than one comet, a number is added after its name. Some comet hunters are fortunate enough to discover not just one comet but a great many. For example, Caroline Herschel, sister of William Herschel, the discoverer of Uranus, discovered eight comets between 1786 and 1797. Comet Ikeya-Seki honors two Japanese comet hunters, Kaoru Ikeya and Tsunomu Seki, while Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was the ninth comet discovered by the team of Gene Shoemaker, Caroline Shoemaker (who holds the record for having discovered more comets than any other individual, 32 at the last count), and David Levy.

Eros was discovered photographically by Gustav Witt, director of the Urania Observatory, in Berlin, Germany, on Saturday night, August 13, 1898. It was independently photographed on the same night by August H. P. Charlois, of Nice, France. August 14 was a Sunday and the next day was a holiday, so the French planet hunter didn’t examine his plate until the 16th, thus losing the honor of being the discoverer. It was named Eros, for the Greek god of love. As soon as Eros’s orbit was calculated, it was clear that something unusual had been found.

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