Comet of the Century

Overview

The present century has been a disappointing one for comets, but past centuries often featured spectacular, unforgettable comet shows that dominated the night (and even daytime) sky for months: comets that outshone Venus or even the Moon, whose spectacular tails stretched more than halfway across the sky or were weirdly split, and whose apparition was held responsible for everything from wars to unusually good wine vintages. Published to coincide with the first naked-eye appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp, perhaps our...

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Overview

The present century has been a disappointing one for comets, but past centuries often featured spectacular, unforgettable comet shows that dominated the night (and even daytime) sky for months: comets that outshone Venus or even the Moon, whose spectacular tails stretched more than halfway across the sky or were weirdly split, and whose apparition was held responsible for everything from wars to unusually good wine vintages. Published to coincide with the first naked-eye appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp, perhaps our own comet of the century, this book is an irresistible guide to comet facts and lore throughout history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780387947938
  • Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.55 (w) x 9.60 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Overview
1 A Comet Passes 3
2 Anatomy of a Ghost 27
3 Dirty Snowballs and the Nurseries of Leviathans 51
4 The Spectacular Deaths of Comets 61
5 Swords of Damocles 86
6 Observing and Discovering Comets 110
7 Halley and Its Periodic Kin 133
8 Through the Ages with Halley's Comet 157
9 What Makes a Comet Great? 197
10 The Comets Before 1700 204
11 The Comets from 1700 to 1995 229
12 The Grand Approach of Comet Hale-Bopp 273
13 Hyakutake Lightning 291
14 A Narrative Calendar for Observing Hale-Bopp 305
15 Comet of the Century 328
App. A Periodic Comet Numbers 331
App. B Great Comets in History 335
App. C Closest Comets in History 339
App. D Celestial Coordinates 344
App. E Orbital Elements 346
App. F Comet Brightness Formula and Estimating Brightness 348
App. G How to Report a Comet Discovery 351
App. H Ephemeris for Comet Hale-Bopp 354
Glossary 359
Sources of Information 367
Credits 371
General Index 373
Comet Index 381
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