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Comet Ikeya Seki, 1965
Photograph - Photograph
Color enhanced image of Comet Ikeya-Seki, formally designated C/1965 S1, 1965 VIII, and 1965f, a long-period comet discovered independently by Kaoru Ikeya and Tsutomu Seki. As it approached perihelion observers reported that it was clearly visible in the daytime sky next to the Sun. It proved to be one of the brightest comets seen in the last thousand years, and is sometimes known as the Great Comet of 1965. A Great Comet is a comet that becomes exceptionally bright; there is no official definition, often the term will be attached to comets that become bright enough to be noticed by casual observers who are not actively looking for them, and become well known outside the astronomical community. Great Comets are rare; on average only one will appear in a decade. While comets are officially named after their discoverers, Great Comets are sometimes also referred to by the year in which they appeared great. A comet is a celestial object that orbits the Sun along an elongated path. A comet that is not near the Sun consists only of a nucleus,a solid core of frozen water, frozen gases, and dust. When a comet comes close to the Sun, its nucleus heats up and releases a gaseous coma that surrounds the nucleus. A comet forms a tail when solar heat or wind forces dust or gas off its coma, with the tail always streaming away from the Sun. 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 and come from the Oort cloud.
February 19th, 2013
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