SUNGRAZING COMETS Snowballs in the Furnace
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Since 1680, astronomers have been amazed by comets that almost hit the Sun; yet often survive. This is the first book to concentrate on these amazing wonders of Nature. It looks at the historic objects that have been identified with the major group of such comets and also considers a number that may or may not have been true sungrazers. It examines the latest hypothesis as to why these objects exist and, lastly, looks at the prospects for spectacular new sungrazers arriving in the near and more distant future. Anyone having even the slightest interest in the heavens will welcome this book.
But Strom’s suggestion that seasonal sky clarity in China may help somewhat. He suggests that rain-washed skies during the summer monsoon season (when most of the sightings were made) may have made it easier to see objects in close proximity to the Sun at that time. This makes those Kreutz comets that come to perihelion during the summer months easier to see in daylight than those during the winter, when they are better placed in the night sky but when wind-borne dust may make the daytime sky too.
Majority are tiny, faint, invisible from the ground and unable to survive their freakishly small perihelia. Some have tails visible in the SOHO/LASCO coronagraph images. Others are mere specks of light. The majority would not be accessible to the naked eye even if they could somehow be transported into a dark night sky. How very different they appear from the “classical” sungrazer; those magnificent comets with glorious tails sweeping far across the sky and heads that, at times, have been visible.
Whose Kreutz credentials have been raised by various people at different times. Some of these are very likely candidates for family membership. Others are very doubtful and some can almost certainly be excluded. We will then look at the more recent attempts at modelling the structure and evolution of the family as a whole, say a few speculative words about the diverse patterns of behaviour shown by different members of the group and dare to make some predictions as to the future evolution of the.
The advances in observing technology that had taken place between 1910 and 1957, was undoubtedly the most intricately scrutinised ever at that time. Observations of this comet were supplemented by those of C/Mrkos later that same year, although this second comet was already at its peak when discovered and did not allow the preparation time afforded the earlier object. These two comets broke the long comet drought, with a parade of bright objects during the 1960s and beyond. It was during this.
With clear weather.” From December 20, the comet became widely seen in the western evening sky with a very long and bright tail which, in the estimation of some observers, possessed a distinct golden colouration. In England on December 21, John Flamsteed described the tail as a beam of light about the same width as the Moon and extending straight up from the western horizon. Several estimates indicated a length of about 70 degrees – even as long as 90 degrees according to R. Hooke on December.