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It is very rare to see good comet when it's at its best. Most comets are brightest when nearest the Sun just before they are hidden in the Sun’s glare or below the sunrise or sunset horizon. A recently discovered comet (thokachuka:Telugu/ Dumkethu:Hindi) named Comet McNaught (C/2009 R1) is swinging through the inner solar system these days, and it is brightening rapidly as it approaches the sun at 0.45 A.U. on July 2nd at Perihelion. The comet's green atmosphere is larger than the planet Jupiter, while the long willowy ion tail stretches more than a million kilometers through space.
Where to Look: for next few days from clear skies using a telescope or binocular one can find this comet gliding through constellations of Perseus, and Auriga low in north eastern sky before sun rise. It will appear as a dim and diffuse, circular patch of light.
Closest Encounter with Earth on 15/16th June: On 15th /16th June this comet will be at a distance of 1.13 A.U. (16, 90, 45,593 Km) on from Earth (the nearest it can get) in its orbit thus increasing in brightness. Currently, the comet is at the threshold of naked eye visibility (5th to 6th magnitude) and expected to become as bright as the stars of the Big Dipper (Saptharishi) before the end of the month.
Comet - Bad Omen – Misunderstanding: Comets have been feared throughout much of human history as people due to limited knowledge in ancient times attributed earthquakes, cyclones, outbreak of war etc…which followed to passage of a comet. And were often taken as omens of unfavorable events. Society requests people not to believe such versions.
Being this comet’s first visit to the inner solar system, predictions of future brightness are uncertain.
Here is gist of what is comet ? Various stages ? Types ?
Brief about Comet : Comet is a celestial body that travels around the sun, usually in a highly elliptical orbit. It is a small body in our solar system that orbits the sun much as do the earth and other planets. It typically consists of a small, irregular nucleus, often described as a “dirty snowball,”
When/How are they Observed? They are visible only in that part of their orbit (journey) when they are relatively close to sun. It consists of a solid frozen nucleus part of which vaporizes on approaching the sun to form a gaseous luminous coma and a long elongated curved luminous vapor tail. They are distinguished from other objects in the solar system by their composition, hazy appearance, and elongated orbits. Other bodies' gravity can alter their orbits, causing them to pass close to the Sun.
Origin: Most comets originate in the Oort cloud or in the Kuiper belt. They are thought to be made of raw material with which our sun and planets were made and left to scatter in the outer edges of the solar system.
Various Stages : a. ) Nucleus: It has a "nucleus", or solid body, that is usually around 1-10 km across consisting of ices and dust and rock. When far from the sun in the outer reaches of the solar system, there is very little activity coming off such a nucleus. Comets are thought to consist chiefly of ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide, and water. b) Coma : When a comet nears the Sun, the heat vaporizes its surface, releasing gases and dust particles, which form a cloud around the nucleus called coma. i.e. When the comet nucleus gets closer to the sun, the sun's radiation warms the nucleus, causing the ices to "steam" outwards from the nucleus from various vents, carrying along various atoms and molecules that constitute different ices and dust and rock in the original nucleus. c) Tail : When passing nearing sun the nucleus begins to disintegrate, it also produces a trail of dust or dust tail in its orbital path and a gas or ion tail pointing away from the Sun. i.e. Material in the coma is pushed off by sun’s radiation or solar wind, forming one or more tails. Comet comas can extend up to a million miles from the nucleus and comet tails can be millions of miles long.
Types of Comets: Short-period comets have orbital periods of less than 200 years and come from the region known as the Kuiper belt. Long-period comets have periods greater than 200 years & come from the Oort cloud.
Comets Different from Shooting Stars : comets are NOT the same as meteors (or"shooting stars"; ); comets are much further away than the moon and move slowly with respect to the background stars from night to night, rising and setting each day just as do the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars.