Halley’s Comet prepares for its return trip to Earth

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Middle path

It’s been nearly 40 years since Halley’s Comet flew by Earth, and very soon, it will be back in our path.

like The universe today ReportsNext Sunday, December 9, the famous comet will reach its furthest point from the sun. This is known as the “aphelion”, and is essentially the midpoint of Halley’s long elliptical orbit through our solar system.

It is named after the English astronomer Edmund Halley, who… Discover the famous comet And many other comets of the 18th century, Halley’s Comet has not been visible in the night sky since metallic hairs were all the rage in 1986.

As exciting as this history is for skywatchers who have been waiting generations to see this magnificent fireball hurtle across Earth’s skies – or since 2003, when the European Southern Observatory The Very Large Telescope captured the most grainy images From the comet as it wanders through the outer edges of our solar system — they’ll still have to wait a long time considering it won’t be back around these parts until 2061.

If you were hoping to catch another telescopic look at Halley’s Comet at its farthest point, you’re unfortunately out of luck.

A NASA spokesman said that although the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes would certainly be powerful enough to capture images of the comet as it orbited near Jupiter. The universe today There is nothing in the docket for either instrument that indicates plans to verify it now or in the future.

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Consolation prize

Although we won’t get any glimpse of Halley’s Comet itself for another few decades, we are able to see its remnants on Earth in the form of Halley’s Comet. Eta Aquariids meteor shower.

Every year between late April and early May, our planet passes through debris from the tail of Halley’s Comet, some of which can leave trails lasting a few seconds or even minutes. While this famous fireball remnant is most spectacular in the Southern Hemisphere, those of us here in the Northern Hemisphere aren’t quite so lucky – we can see 10 to 20 meteors per hour in the pre-dawn hours of its Peak expected on May 5, 2024.

If you’re looking for a solution to observe the sky before the end of the year, Peak Geminid meteor shower It is scheduled to be held on December 13 and 14 meeting with Space.com websiteNASA meteor expert, Bill Cook, said that the viewing conditions this year should be exceptional.

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