Comets and Deep Impact Missions

Sathvika Pallela


A Comet is a a rock made of ice, gas and dust. It ussually has an orbit.

Orbits and closeups of Hale Bopp, Halley and some other comets

Comet Hale-Bopp

DATE SEEN - July 23, 1995

DISCOVERER - Alan Hale of New Mexico and Thomas Bopp of Arizona

SIZE - Was estimated to be 40 km (25 miles) across


An unusually large, bright comet was seen outside of Jupiter’s orbit. It’s intense brightness was due to its great, large size. Hale-Bopp holds the record for the longest period of naked-eye visibility.

COOL FACT: It will not appear for another 2,400 years


DATE SEEN - July, 1862

DISCOVERER - Lewis Swift and Horace Tuttle

DESCRIPTION - As comet Swift-Tuttle moves closer every 120 years, it leaves behind a trail of dust which has the ingredients for fireworks. Some scientists predicted that Earth and Swift-Tuttle will hit into each other someday since their orbits closely intercept each other.



DATE SEEN - 1531 and 1607

DISCOVERER - Edmund Halley

SIZE - its 15-km (9-mile) nucleus sheds about 6 m (7 yards) of ice and rock into space.

DESCRIPTION - Edmund Halley predicted that the orbit of the comet was 76 years. Unfortunately Halley died 1742 and Edmund Halley never got to see if his prediction. The comet returned on Christmas Eve in 1758 and will come back in the inner solar system at 2061.


DATE SEEN - July 16 to July 22; clues --- March 31, 1993 ; discovered

DISCOVERER - Carolyn and Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy

SIZE - 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter

DESCRIPTION - It collided with the planet Jupiter. The impact created atmospheric plumes (thousands of kilometers high) that showed hot "bubbles" of gas.

COOL FACT - Moves 134,000 mph


DATE SEEN - January 30, 1996

DISCOVERER - Yuji Hyakutake from Japan

SIZE - 1.6 to 3.2 km (1 to 2 miles)

DESCRIPTION - Astronomers have calculated its orbit and believe that the last time it was in the inner solar system was 8,000 years ago. Its orbit will not bring it near the Sun again for about 14,000 years.

COOL FACT - Discovered with a pair of binoculars
Halley's Comet Armada: "Comet Halley Returns-Voyager Uranus Flyby" 1986 NASA
Deep Impact Mission

Deep Impact Mission