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Comets in the 21st Century

A personal guide to experiencing the next great comet!
Daniel C Boice, Thomas Hockey


The purpose of this book is to bring comets into the living rooms of general households, to familiarize politicians with these fascinating objects when they ponder funding for comet research, to teach children and young students, and to provide teaching tools about these very unusual objects in our skies. The presentation is very comprehensive in its description of orbits around the Sun, the development of the coma (escaping atmosphere) from a comet's nucleus and source of all activities, various types of comet tails, trailing as well as leading as a comet orbits our Sun, ancient beliefs and explanations of these phenomena and the most recent discovery of the first interstellar comet.

About Editors

Daniel C Boice is the principal astronomer at Scientific Studies and Consulting in San Antonio, Texas. His professional activities include more than 75 peer-reviewed research papers and several hundred conference reports. In 2000, he became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Thomas Hockey is a professor of astronomy at the University of Northern Iowa. He has written seven other books including Galileo's Planet and How We See the Sky, and he was Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers.

Table of Contents



Author Biographies


1. Introduction


2. Roller Coaster Comets

2.1 The Paths of Comets

2.2 Two Kinds of Comets

2.3 Celestial Clockwork

2.4 A Universe in Motion

2.5 The Gravity of the Situation

2.6 Looping Comets

2.7 Orbits of Your Own


3. What Comets Are All About

3.1 Parts of a Comet

3.2 What is a Comet Made of?

3.3 More on the Comet Nucleus

3.4 Comet Scene Investigation (CSI) Using Chemical Fingerprints

3.5 The Demise of Comets

3.6 The Origin of Comets

3.7 A Visit to a Comet


4. Comet Crashes

4.1 What if?

4.2 The Comets Come to Earth

4.3 The Killer Comet


5. Observing Comets

5.1 Eye on a Comet

5.2 Where to Go?

5.3 When to Look?

5.4 Expectations


6. Hunting Comets

6.1 Who Discovers Comets?

6.2 Where is Our Comet?

6.3 How Bright a Light?

6.4 Eureka! I've Found a Comet!

6.5 Starting Your Comet Quest

6.6 Epilogue



A. Recipes for Teachers

B. Approximate Dates for Some Famous Meteor Showers

C. Typical Comet Visibility Rates

D. The Brightest Comets Since 1935

E. Notable Comets in History

F. Books on Historical Comets

G. Intermediate and Advanced Books on Comets




Paperback ISBN: 9780750329828

Ebook ISBN: 9781643274454

DOI: 10.1088/2053-2571/ab027e

Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Publishers


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