November 27, 2011 4:42
Not too many objects in the sky visible to the naked eye. But one of the most famous comet that bears the name of the Englishman Edmund Halley, can be observed without any additional equipment.
Halley's comet belongs to the short-period comets — she returns to the Sun once every 76 years. She last appeared in the March-April 1986, when she flew to the Earth at a distance of about 63 million km (it was recorded April 10, other days the distance was even more).
Following visits tailed pilgrims, according to calculations of astronomers, must occur in the summer of 2061 and spring of 2134. The minimum distance from a guest July 29, 2061 will not be so small — 71 million km. But the return of 7 May 2134 will please fans of astronomy — a comet close to 13.7 million km. That's our great-grandchildren admire the spectacle.
According to calculations, it is possible to trust, because even in the XVII century, using the mathematical tools of Newton, her own observations and information about the different orbits of comets Edmond Halley suggested that appears in the 1531-m, 1607-m and 1682 object — the same body. He predicted that the next time he will appear in late 1758 or early 1759-th. Unfortunately, the eminent astronomer to wait for confirmation of his predictions — he died in 1742. From employment at the end of 1758 the comet named after him. Well deservedly so.
In 1986, the comet Halley were running the Soviet "Vega", the unit of the European Space Agency's "Giotto" and two Japanese ship — "Sakigake" and "Suisse". They got some great shots of the comet nucleus, video, investigated the gas composition of the tail.
There is reason to believe that the comet, described by the Chinese in 611 BC, it is also our good friend. Such a long period of observation does Halley's comet oldest observable short-period comet.