Curiosities Of Astronomy - The Comet by anamaulida

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                <p>The comet comes from the Greek word kometa, which
means hair, and refers to the characteristic "tail" that occurs when the
comet approaches the sun.<br><br>Centuries ago, it was considered that
the appearance of comets in the sky portended misfortune or calamity.
Many violent or tragic events in history are associated with appearances
of comets: the death of Agrippa (12 BC), the destruction of Jerusalem (66
BC), the assassination of Emperor Claudius (54 AD).</p>
<p>For the Romans the appearance of a comet meant fate, the Incas
believed that it announced the death of a king, as happened in cases of
Huayna Capac, Atahualpa. For the Aztecs, it foretold the return of
Quetzalcoatl and the end of his reign (in fact, a comet appeared shortly
before the arrival of Cortes to Tenochtitlan and the fall of the empire).
<br><br>The Maya, meanwhile, had a kinder view of the curious phenomenon:
they believed that the appearance of a comet presaged changes in the
structures, a transformation of consciousness and an evolution in the
understanding of life.<br><br>All peoples have pictorial or literary
evidence of the passage of comets over the centuries. Everyone wanted to
somehow capture the impact they had on the mysterious celestial
phenomenon, either out of fear, awe or curiosity.      <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-
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 We now know that comets are solid bodies that come primarily from two
places in the galaxy: the Oort cloud and the Kuiper Belt. <br><br>In
recent history there have been many famous comets.<br><br>We can say that
the most famous of these is Halley. Its appearance is recorded from 238
A.C. in chronicles from around the world: Japan, China, India. Edmund
Halley was the astronomer who calculated its orbit in 1705 and predicted
his subsequent appearances, every 76 years. Between 18 and 19 of May
1910, the Earth passed the comet's tail. It was a beautiful sight, but
unfortunately overshadowed by the panic that gripped many people, due to
the news circulating about the effects this would have. <br>There was
talk of collective poisoning by gases from the tail of Halley's comet,
when actually this line is so fine that it could be described as empty.
<br><br>Another is the famous comet Hale-Bopp. It was discovered
simultaneously in 1995 by Alan Hale, New Mexico, and Thomas Bopp,
Arizona. Its importance lies in its magnitude. Telescopes were able for
the first time, at a distance where other comets are not, to view it. In
1996 it could be viewed with the naked eye when Hale-Bopp was within a
year of its perihelion (point of orbit closest to the sun). <br><br>On 1
April 1997 it shined more than any other star. Had it passed closer to
Earth, it would have been brighter than the full moon. In total, it
remained visible without the aid of instruments for 569
days.<br><br>Hyakutake has an orbital period of 72,000 years. It was
discovered by a Japanese amateur astronomer, Yuji Hyakutake, January 30,
1996, while observing the sky with binoculars. Hyakutake, called The
Great Comet of 1996, it was first discovered by X-ray emissions produced
from a comet (there were others that followed). <br><br>Another factor
that made it famous was having the longest tail known so far: between 570
and 1,000 million km. It is among the 4 comets which passed close to
Earth in the twentieth century.</p>
<p>Jack Clarke has been an author and content publisher for the past 15
years. He currently runs several review sites including <a rel="nofollow"
onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackPageview',
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href="http://kidsdigitalcamerasreview.com"> Kids Digital Cameras</a>
among many others.</p>                <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->
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