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By Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan

WHAT ARE those sleek viewers TO OUR SKIES? WE NOW recognize THAT they carry either existence AND dying AND educate US approximately OUR ORIGINS.

Comet starts off with a panoramic trip via house astride a comet. Pulitzer Prize-winning astronomer Carl Sagan, writer of Cosmos and make contact with, and author Ann Druyan discover the beginning, nature, and way forward for comets, and the unique myths and portents hooked up to them. The authors exhibit how comets have spurred the various nice discoveries within the historical past of technological know-how and lift fascinating questions on those amazing viewers from the interstellar dark.

Were the fates of the dinosaurs and the origins of people tied to the wanderings of a comet? Are comets the construction blocks from which worlds are formed?

Lavishly illustrated with pictures and specifically commissioned full-color work, Comet is a charming event, essential for a person who has ever gazed up on the heavens and puzzled why.


The occasions of London


The Washington Post

"COMET HUMANIZES technological know-how. a stunning, attention-grabbing BOOK."

United Press International

"MASTERFUL . . . technological know-how, POETRY, AND IMAGINATION."

The Atlanta magazine & Constitution

From the alternate Paperback version.

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The nice Comet of December 1680, studied via Newton and Halley, handed below 100,000 kilometers from the Sun’s floor, significantly nearer than the Moon is to the Earth;* it didn't cut up in the course of perihelion passage. nevertheless, Comet West (1976 VI), coming no nearer than thirty million kilometers to the solar, cut up into 4 fragments that slowly receded from one another at greater than their mutual break out speed. therefore the gravitational tides of the solar or unequal heating is probably not the only real reasons of the splitting of comets. We nonetheless are usually not in all instances definite why comets break up, even if a few should be even more cohesively sure jointly than others. Splitting and jetting should be hooked up. for the time being Comet West break up, the person fragments brightened appreciably, and propelled huge amounts of airborne dirt and dust into house within the first of a few dozen bursts. 80 percentage of comets that break up accomplish that once they are faraway from the solar. Comet Wirtanen fragmented in 1957 a bit contained in the orbit of Saturn. Comet Biela/Gambart is an identical case. Such splitting will be as a result of the vaporization of unique ices, or to collisions with in a different way undetected interplanetary boulders. those sungrazers have all handed inside of approximately part 1000000 kilometers of the Sun’s floor, penetrating in the course of the skinny, scorching gasoline of the sun corona the place the temperature hovers round one million levels. however the comet spends so little time within the sunlight corona, and the greatly scorching gasoline there's so skinny, that it truly is most likely the Sun’s gravity greater than its warmth that's liable for the fragmentation of the sungrazers. ! medical papers are usually low key, and the looks of an exclamation point—except in mathematical papers, the place it stands for whatever very different—is infrequent. here's one of many exceptions. Brian Marsden of the heart for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the director of the overseas Astronomical Union’s workplace that signals astronomers world wide to the invention of a brand new comet, and lots more and plenty else. Marsden himself has made a few vital contributions to knowing the comets. In a systematic paper* released within the Sixties, he's discussing the sungrazing comets, and unearths that there are participants, 1882 II and 1965 VIII, that glance as though that they had break up aside close to aphelion. yet aphelion is definitely past the orbit of Neptune, disconcertingly distant: even though lots of the comets saw to separate have performed so for no seen cause, one particularly does require an evidence while the rate of separation is a few 20% of the speed of the comet itself! A collision with a few asteroidal item at 2 hundred A. U. from the solar, and a hundred A. U. above the ecliptic airplane, although it could in basic terms need to ensue as soon as, is scarcely useful of great attention. A violent explosion 2 hundred Astronomical devices from the sunlight, almost within the interstellar evening, is tough to appreciate. Collisions there might be super infrequent. the matter is left unsolved. If a few comets come so just about hitting the solar, will not be others fall in and impression it head on?

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