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Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3)

Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3)

Автор Anura Guruge

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Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3)

Автор Anura Guruge

237 страниц
3 часа
14 июл. 2020 г.


A comet book specific to COMET NEOWISE (i.e., C/2020 F3) – 2020's naked-eye visible comet in North America & Europe. Comet NEOWISE is special. It is the first naked-eye comet that has been visible (in the evening sky no less) in the Northern Hemisphere since 1997 – and 'Hale-Bopp'. It will introduce a whole new generation to the magic & glory of comets. It will astound, transfix & tantalize. This book will augment & enhance that experience.

This is the author's May 2020 "Comets" book updated for Comet NEOWISE. There are two new chapters & 13 new images specific to NEOWISE. There are detailed, annotated orbital diagrams showing NEOWISE at its closest to the Sun, closest to Earth & where it was when discovered by an infrared space telescope.

It covers everything and more that you will want to find out about this Comet – which is likely to become known as 'Comet COVID'. Just Look Inside to marvel the amount of detail included.

The title page has the annotation: 'demystifying comets, for those of all ages'. That is true & valid. Some other apropos subtitles could have been: 'comets – from soup to nuts', 'everything & more you ever wanted to know about comets', 'a primer for the wannabe expert', or even 'the handbook NASA wishes it had'! The goal of this book is to tell you, in a relatively entertaining manner, everything you might ever want to know about comets. Nothing more, nothing less. You should exploit Look Inside to peruse some of the pages & admire the figures (and there are over 60). Check out the 'Table of Contents'. You will see that this book covers it all: 'What?, When?, Where?, Why?, Anatomy, Origins, Orbits, Discovery, Naming, Brightness, Exploration, Great Comets & even Meteor Showers'. There is a whole Appendix & multiple sidebars on essential & technical vocabulary. This book is truly comprehensive – but written, intentionally, in a relatively informal style to make it engaging & easy to follow.

The author, a professional technical writer, has written other books on comets & astronomy. Check out what some folks said about his 2013 book on 'Comet ISON'. One reviewer wrote: "The Lord's Prayer in a technical book by Anura"! Another said: 'Remarkable Author & Information Genius'.

From the pricing you should be able to deduce that this book was not written for 'profit'. An author does not get too much royalty on a book that is sold for $2. The author, now on the other side of 65, no longer has to worry about making money from his writing. He collects Social Security. Enough said.

14 июл. 2020 г.

Об авторе

Anura Gurugé is an independent technical consultant who specializes in all aspects of contemporary networking, corporate portals and Web services – particularly if they involve IBM host systems. He has first hand, in-depth experience in Web-to-host, SNA, Frame Relay, Token-Ring switching and ATM. He was the founder and Chairman of the SNA-Capable i·net Forum in 1997. He also teaches graduate and post-graduate computer technology and marketing at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) – Laconia/Gilford and Portsmouth campuses. He is the author of Corporate Portals Empowered with XML and Web Services (Digital Press, 2002). In addition, he has published over 320 articles. In a career spanning 29 years, he has held senior technical and marketing roles in IBM, ITT, Northern Telecom, Wang and BBN. His Web sites are: www.inet-guru.com and www.wownh.com.

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Comet NEOWISE (C/2020 F3) - Anura Guruge


COPYRIGHT © 2020, ANURA Gurugé.

All Rights Reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

First published in July 2020.


New Hampshire



Photographic Credits:

Most of the images used in the body of this book are from the public domain (e.g., Wikipedia, NASA, JPL, etc.). The cover picture, from Wikipedia, is of the comet, taken on July 7, 2020, in Landers, California (U.S.) by user ‘Dbot3000using a Canon EOD 5D Mk. IV with a 200mm lens. The other photographic images of C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) are from: Hypatia Trisha Alexandria, Marsha Kirschbaum, Jeremy Perez & Ivan Vagner. Details of these four kind, talented & generous souls can be found at the end of this book. Each of their pictures (bar the cover & front-page) are also individually attributed. The front-page image is from Hypatia Trisha Alexandria. Thank you all. You really helped me out.




my first-born,

in lieu of the book I still have to write

for her.

Figure NEOWISE-1: Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), early morning of July 6, 2020 in Flagstaff, Arizona (USA), by Jeremy Perez. The hill in the foreground is ‘Merriam Crater’, one of the largest of the cinder cone hills that surround ‘Humphreys Peak’ in Northern Arizona.

Figure NEOWISE-2: Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), in the early morning skies over Santa Fe, New Mexico (USA). Composite of two images, overlaid, by Hypatia Trisha Alexandria. The cover & front-page images are crops of this image.

Figure 1: C/2012 S1 (ISON), the hoped for ‘Great Comet of 2013’, imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope, in early October 2013, as it was heading for its sungrazing rendezvous with the Sun on November 28, 2013 (U.S. Thanksgiving Day). It got too close, as with Icarus of myth, and disintegrated. Only some debris rounded the Sun.

Figure 2: C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy), the ‘Great Christmas Comet of 211’ (albeit only seen in the Southern Hemisphere), imaged on Christmas day 2011, in Queensland, Australia, by ‘Naskies’ (& posted on Wikipedia).

Figure 3: Closeup of numbered periodic 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko obtained by combining 4 images taken by the ESA’s robotic spacecraft Rosetta’s navigation camera, in September 2014, when it was just 18-miles away from the comet – 8-weeks ahead of ESA’s Philae lander making a more-or-less soft landing on the comet. This is one of the closest & most detailed pictures we have, to-date, of a comet. More on Rosetta/Philae in Chapter 8. The resemblance to a Chinese pottery horse overall, or the roaring lion’s head on the right, has to be considered a coincidence.


SNA: Theory and Practice

Reengineering IBM Networks

Integrating TCP/IP i-nets with IBM Data Centers

Corporate Portals Empowered with XML and Web Services

Web Services: Theory and Practice

Popes and the Tale of Their Names

The Next Pope

The Next Pope 2011

The Last 9 Conclaves

The Last 10 Conclaves: 2013 to 1903

The Election of the 2013 Pope

Pope Names for the 2013 Conclave

Pope John XXIII: 101 Facts & Trivia

Popes: 101 Facts & Trivia

Pope Francis’ U.S. Visit – 2015

The Conclave

Comet ISON, C/2012 S1 (ISON)

Comet ISON, C/2012 S1 (ISON): Quick Reference

Comet ISON for Kids

Comets: 101 Facts & Trivia

Devanee’s Book of Dwarf Planets

Matthew’s Book of 4 Vesta the Would be Planet

Orgasms: 101 Facts & Trivia

Teischan’s ABC Book of Great Artists

A Pup is NOT a Toy

Quick & Easy Meditation

Brain Meditation – For True Productivity & Serenity

Quick Guide to Brain Meditation

Central Pain Syndrome – Chronic, Confounding Pain Such As That Of Fibromyalgia

A ‘Think’ A Day, Keeps Alzheimer’s At Bay (two versions: Big & Thin)

THINK A Day—2019

All available online, worldwide.

Table of Contents


Notes for Reading This Book

0. Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) – An Introduction

1. What, When, Where & Why

2. The Anatomy of a Comet

3. The Origins Of Comets

4. The Orbits Of Comets

5. The Discovery Of Comets

6. The Naming Of Comets

7. The Brightness Of Comets

8. Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE)

9. The Exploration Of Comets

10. Great Comets

11. Meteor Showers

Essential Vocabulary

Useful Web Resources

Metric Conversions

Photographic Credits


Iam, with luck, going to see another naked-eye visible comet, viz., NEOWISE (i.e., C/2020 F3). Wow, I have waited a long time for this. Hence, this special NEOWISE edition of my previous ‘ Comets book.

I am lucky in that I, despite being a habitual Northern Hemisphere dweller, am old enough to have seen at least one mesmerizing comet. That was ‘Hale-Bopp’ (i.e., C/1995 O1) in 1997. I have seen two others, one (viz., C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS)) through binoculars in 2013, & the other (viz. C/1973 E1 (Kohoutek)) faintly, in the 1970s. Seeing ‘Hale-Bopp’, in its glory, night-after-night, was magical. I so want to experience another like it, & alas, circumstances do not permit me to move to the Southern Hemisphere, where, based on what has transpired of late, my chances might be better. But, when it comes to comets, I am not selfish. I want others, including my kids, to have the privilege of seeing a naked-eye comet – even if it is not truly a ‘great’. It is an absolute shame that we currently have a generation (or more) of folks in North America & Europe that have yet to see a naked-eye comet emblazoning the sky. That is why C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is going to be special. It might not be a bona fide ‘great’, but it will certainly be better than nothing. Smile.

In 2013, I expended much time & effort hoping that ‘ISON’ (i.e., C/2012 S1) might prove to be an unforgettable ‘great’. A comet that might even have been daylight visible! It, sadly, was not to be. It, as it got real close to the Sun, travelling at over 225,000 mph (i.e., 62.5 miles per second), started to catastrophically disintegrate. I was having Thanksgiving dinner with a family of recent refugees! I always knew that ISON going ‘poof’ was a possibility – but it was a terrible letdown. I had written three books on ISON, set up a blog & done numerous public presentations. And in the end, there was nothing to show for it. No naked-eye comet. Truth be told, I have been waiting for another ISON ever since. And NEOWISE will do, for now.

Comets are unpredictable. Comets beguile. That is a part of their charm. I know all of that.

In 2020, as some of you may recall we had the promise of both ‘Comet ATLAS’ (i.e., C/2019 Y4) & ‘Comet SWAN’ (i.e., C/2020 F8). ATLAS, alas, started to disintegrate even before it got past Mars. That was unexpected & a shame. Comets usually are still solidly frozen & nonfragile that far from the Sun. Not so, ATLAS. SWAN made it around the Sun, intact, but remained hard-to-see, naked-eye. Then, kind of out of the blue (quite literally) came NEOWISE. BINGO!

I started writing my ‘Comets’ book in April 2020 in anticipation of ATLAS. It was a book I wanted to write. It was on my ‘Bucket List’. With NEOWISE on the horizon I decided to update that book & make it into a special NEOWISE edition. Hence, this book.

I like comets. I like writing about comets, asteroids & dwarf planets. I am glad I wrote this book. The goal of this book is very simple & straightforward. I want you to get to know comets – NEOWISE, in particular. I want to make comets ‘accessible’. Demystify them. Show you what they can do – in terms of transforming the night sky. I want you to dream about comets. I want you to look forward – like I do – for the next ‘great’ – post NEOWISE. I want you also to like comets—& hopefully NEOWISE will get you hooked.

There should be nothing complicated about this book. Just a simple, non-formal narrative. Me ‘talking’ to you, one-on-one. Below I provide a few notes as to how the book is structured. But, it should really be self-explanatory.

I hope you like this book. Even if you don’t, I am sure you will learn from it. That is good. That will make me happy.

I am a denizen of the Web. I am easy to find on the Web. You can contact me by e-mail at: anu@wownh.com.

Anura Gurugé

Lakes Region, New Hampshire

July 2020

Notes for Reading This Book

‘Essential Vocabulary’ (i.e., a glossary) can be found towards the end of the book; after Chapter 10 ‘Meteor Showers’. If you are new to comets you may want to have a quick skim of it before you start.

Comet names are ‘shaded’, for emphasis, when they first appear in a given section of narrative; e.g., C/1965 S1 (Ikeya-Seki).

Formal & correct designations for comets are in the forms: C/year nn (Names), 1P/(Names), P/year nn (names) etc. Examples: C/2020 F8 (SWAN), 1P/Halley, 1P/, 1P, P/2012 T1(PANSTARRS).

Use of highlighting: Various types of text highlighting has been used extensively and sometimes arbitrarily: (1) for emphasis & (2) to denote ‘value-added’ background details.

Reference to C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) in Chapters 1 to 7 are highlighted – so you can quickly spot them even if you quickly skimming through the book.

One irrefutable advantage of eBooks is that they support color at no extra cost. So, color has been (hopefully) judiciously for emphasis & to break & delineate sections.

Figures & references within the book are shown in purple.

You should be able to skip around the book – if you so desire.

The orbital diagrams used in the book are based on those provided by ‘JPL’. Refer to ‘Useful Web Resources’ section towards the end of this book.

‘Words’ (‘phrases’) in quotation marks: Used to indicate when words/phrases that are either: used outside of their conventional context, proper names, or being afforded emphasis.

Figure 4: Long-term comet C/1965 S1 (Ikeya-Seki), ‘the great of 1965’, the brightest comet since reliable records started to be kept in 1935. It was not just naked-eye visible; it was daylight visible when it was close to the Sun (though you had to block the Sun with your hand or another object to eliminate its glare). This comet gets mentioned quite a few times within this book. This picture was taken, in 1965, by James W. Young (TMO/JPL/NASA) & can be found on Wikipedia.

Figure 5: Close up of periodic, short-term comet 9P/Tempel, taken by NASA’s robotic spacecraft Deep Impact, on July 4, 2005, from 311-miles away, 1.67-seconds after a 820-pound Impactor capsule fired by the spacecraft crashed into the comet to create a dust cloud that could be analyzed to determine the makeup of the comet. More on this exploratory-mission (and all the others) in Chapter 8.

Figure NEOWISE-3: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) at 4:45am (local time) on July 5, 2020, over the San Francisco (USA) Bay Area. Image by Marsha Kirschbaum using a Sony a7R II with a 70-200mm zoom lens at 200mm. This image created by superimposing fifteen 2-second images together.

Figure NEOWISE-4: C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) in the night sky above ‘New York’ (USA), on July 23, 2020, around 11pm. It will be lower down, and to the North in succeeding days – starting around July 12, 2020. On that night it will be a tad to the west of NW, about 30° above the horizon. It will be below the ‘Big Dipper’ constellation (which can be clearly seen in this image). Base image from ‘stellarium-web.org’. Use that website to locate C/2020 F3 for your personal use.

0. Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) – An Introduction

Hurrah, hooray & even a huzzah . We have a comet. A rare naked-eye visible comet in the Northern Hemisphere. ‘ NEOWISE ’ or to be correct & pedantic, C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) .

Hope has turned to reality. An interminable

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