comet

Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

Caroline Herschel – The Comet Sweeper

On January 9, 1848, Caroline Lucretia Herschel, German-British astronomer and sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel, passed away at age 98. She is best know for the discovery of several comets, in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name. Caroline Herschel grew up in the German town Hannover where she worked at her parent‘s home as a housekeeper and received a musical education followed by a starting career as…
John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

On May 13, 1861, Australian astronomer John Tebbutt discovered C/1861 J1, the Great Comet of 1861. C/1861 J1 is a long-period comet that was visible to the naked eye for approximately 3 months. It was categorized as a Great Comet, one of the eight greatest comets of the 19th century. John Tebbutt was first educated at the Church of England parish school and later at a private school. After his retirement, his father…
Pierre Mechain and the Meridian Survey Expedition

Pierre Mechain and the Meridian Survey Expedition

Pierre Méchain (1744-1804)) On August 16, 1744, French astronomer and surveyor Pierre François André Méchain was born. Together with Charles Messier, was a major contributor to the early study of deep sky objects and comets. He participated in the Meridian survey expedition in 1792 that produced measurements, which have served as the fundament of the metric system. Pierre Méchain was born in Laon, a medieval town in the Picardy region of…
Maria Mitchell and the Comets

Maria Mitchell and the Comets

Maria Mitchell (1814-1889) On August 1, 1814, American astronomer Maria Mitchell was born who, in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as “Miss Mitchell’s Comet“. Maria Mitchell was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA, among nine brothers and sisters to William Mitchell and Lydia Coleman Mitchell, both Unusual for that time, Maria Mitchell’s parents as Quakers valued education and insisted on giving her the…
Deep Impact and the Comet 9P/Tempel

Deep Impact and the Comet 9P/Tempel

On January 12, 2005, NASA space probe Deep Impact was launched. It was designed to study the interior composition of the comet 9P/Tempel, by releasing an impactor into the comet, which successfully collided with the comet’s nucleus. This was the first time, that research on the inner conditions of a comet was nearly possible. The ejected pieces of the comet Tempel 1, were supposed to be studied in order to understand…
Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Sir Edmond Halley (1656-1742)©Klaus-Dieter Keller, wikipedia On November 8, 1656, Sir Edmond Halley was born. The astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist, was best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet. Edmond Halley was born in England to the family of a wealthy soap maker. Therefore, Halley was able to receive a proper education and started studying at Queen’s College in Oxford, where he already published his…
Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter

Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter

On July 22, 1994, the last parts of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the largest planet within our solar system, Jupiter. This was the first time, that an extraterrestrial collision of two objects could be directly observed. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 approaching Jupiter Shoemaker-Levy 9 got its name from the US-American scientists Eugene Shoemaker, his wive Carolyn, and David Levy, it was the 9th periodic comet to be discovered. The…
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