Earlier in November, Dr. Frank Summers of the Space Telescope Science Institute gave a public lecture on comets. Along with comets' origins, characteristics, orbits and types, Dr. Summers also gave an overview of Comet ISON and what we might expect as perihelion approaches. Below is the video of the lecture and as always, we have also provided annotations to various sections if you don't have time to watch the entire talk.
- BEGINNING: History of Comets
- What Are Great Comets? Here is a list of Great Comets throughout history along with some of their characteristics.
- What is the Greatest Comet?
- The Heart of a Comet. What does a comet nucleus look like? What's it made of? How big is it and what's the difference between an asteroid and a comet?
- A Smash Hit. Discussion of the Deep Impact mission to Tempel 1 and what it taught us about comets.
- Dust in the Solar Wind. Comet jets and gases become the coma. How big are comet tails? What makes the tail?
- Interplanetary Interlopers. Discussion of orbits of comets, asteroids and Earth-crossing asteroids.
- The Ends of the Solar System. Discussion of long-period comets, like Comet ISON.
- Comet ISON. History and characteristics of the comet.
- Breaking Up Is Not Hard to Do. Discussion of sungrazing comets and the effects on them as they fly by the Sun.
- Eyes on ISON. Overview of the observations being done all over the world on this comet. Some predictions of whether or not it will survive perihelion along with a brief overview of Mars observations as Comet ISON flew by.
- When and Where Can You See Comet ISON? What are the best times to see it with your naked eye? Where should you look for it?
Dr. Summers' slides are available for download from Space Telescope Science Institute.
So there you have it. Hopefully you'll have a chance to watch at least some of this wonderful lecture given by Dr. Summers, and we hope you'll have clear, dark skies where you are that allow you to look up and see it for yourself.