Comets add a sense of surprise and freshness to the predictability and seeming timelessness of the visible cosmos. Some of these mists of dust and fl uorescing gas sail through the inner solar system at regular intervals, such as the famous comet 1P/Halley. Many other comets are discovered yearly as they make their first observed descent to our vicinity. Depending on their distance, composition, and intrinsic brightness, comets can present a variety of appearances—from almost stellar objects, to soft round patches, to majestic, tailed plumes that are sometimes visible to the naked eye. Because these are fl eeting, transitory objects, time spent observing and sketching them is all the more precious.
KeywordsCardinal Direction Bright Star Amateur Astronomer Central Condensation Bright Portion
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