Halley’s Comet is believed to light up Earth’s sky every 75 to 76 years. People have regularly observed this short-period comet since ancient times. In 1986, it reached its perihelion, the point at which a comet is closest to the sun and most visible. The only comet in our life that can be seen twice by the naked eye is Halley’s Comet due to its size and velocity.
For starters, Halley’s is an event that has been anticipated for centuries because of its recurrence. While there have been numerous other comets and meteor showers, Halley’s stands out for its size and intrigue.
You can learn more about this Comet in the meantime. Scroll down to read six facts about this astronomical event.
Halley’s Comet: 6 Facts You Need to Know
Halley’s Comet been sighted regularly since 240 BC.
The first recorded appearance of Halley’s is 240 BCE, according to a Chinese historical text titled Records of the Grand Historian, despite evidence from Pliny the Elder that the comet was first seen in ancient Greece between 468-466 BCE.
Astronomer Halley inspired the name of the meteor.
An astronomer friend of Isaac Newton and fellow British astronomer Edmond Halley published Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets in 1705. His findings indicated that the three sightings of different comets over some time were all observations of the same comet, returning every 75 to 76 years. French astronomer Louis de Lacaille named Halley’s Comet in 1759 after the first periodic comet was recognized.
Debris and ice form this comet.
Did you know that shooting stars are large balls of space debris and ice? Well, the same goes for this Comet. But in this case, it is mostly rubble that is kept together by gravity. Recent observations have proven that the comet is also covered with black dust.
Halley’s Comet creates its atmosphere.
Halley’s Comet melts its surface ice in orbit around the sun to create an atmosphere spanning 100,000 kilometers across; a solar wind blow ultimately transforms this atmosphere into its long tail.
Two meteor showers coincide with Halley’s Comet.
The annual Orionids meteor shower occurs for one week in late October and is associated with Halley’s Comet. It is also associated with the Eta Aquariids meteor shower in early May, as those meteors used to belong to the Comet but broke off hundreds of years ago. However, the current orbit of Halley’s Comet does not influence meteor activity.
A shink is taking place in Halley’s Comet.
Even though Halley’s weighs about 2.2 hundred trillion kilograms, scientists have calculated that it used to weigh much more. According to recent studies, this Comet loses a portion of its mass every time it approaches the sun. Throughout two to three orbits, Halley’s Comet appears to have lost between 80-90% of its original mass. With time, the comet will disappear completely or be expelled from the solar system, depending on its mass loss. However, it will be thousands of years before this happens.
How long will it take Halley’s Comet to Show Again?
There is a good chance that the view of Halley’s Comet will be much better in 2061 since the comet will be on the same side of the Sun as Earth.