Victoria NeuroNotes

Here’s A Brain Twister & More Dirty Snowball Facts

96 Comments

If you think about the Earth during different seasons, its orientation in space and it’s geometry, then ask yourself this question:

Would a comet in orbit around the sun have seasons too?

Seasons comet 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to NASA, yes.

“Consider what makes the seasons on Earth. The planet Earth rotates on its axis once a day. That same axis is tilted with respect to the plane formed by the Sun and the planets, called the ecliptic. The angle formed between the Earth’s axis and the ecliptic plane, results in the seasons. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the Sun, the days are longer and there is more sunlight hitting the Earth, this is summer. When it is tilted away from the Sun, there is less sunlight on the Northern Hemisphere and it is winter.

Comets have their own geometric orientation in space and hence they too have seasons. We currently do not know the orientation of Tempel 1’s axis but we will learn that when we approach and flyby the comet observing it over time as it rotates in space. Note that Tempel 1 rotates on its axis very slowly, once every 42 hours. Our animation does not show this rotation, but its there.”

Who knew?

“This spectacular image of comet Tempel 1 was taken 67 seconds after it obliterated Deep Impact’s impactor spacecraft. The image was taken by the high-resolution camera on the mission’s flyby craft. Scattered light from the collision saturated the camera’s detector, creating the bright splash seen here. Linear spokes of light radiate away from the impact site, while reflected sunlight illuminates most of the comet surface. The image reveals topographic features, including ridges, scalloped edges and possibly impact craters formed long ago.”

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD

10 other facts about comets:

  • Days on comets vary. One day on comet Halley varies between 2.2 to 7.4 Earth days (the time it takes for comet Halley to rotate or spin once).  Comet Halley makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in this comet’s time) in 76 Earth years.
  • Short-period comets (comets that orbit the sun in less than 200 years) reside in the icy region known as the Kuiper Belt beyond the orbit of Neptune from about 30 to 55 AU. Long-period comets (comets with long, unpredictable orbits) originate in the far-off reaches of the Oort Cloud, which is five thousand to 100 thousand AUs from the sun.
  • If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a nickel, dwarf planet Pluto would be the size of a head of a pin and the largest Kuiper Belt comet (about 100 km across, which is about one twentieth the size of Pluto) would only be about the size of a grain of dust.
  • Comets are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust.
  • A comet warms up as it nears the sun and develops an atmosphere, or coma. The coma may be hundreds of thousands of kilometers in diameter.
  • Comets do not have moons.
  • Comets do not have rings.
  • More than 20 missions have explored comets from a variety of viewpoints.
  • Comets may not be able to support life themselves, but they may have brought water and organic compounds — the building blocks of life — through collisions with Earth and other bodies in our solar system.
  • Comet Halley makes an appearance in the Bayeux Tapestry from the year 1066, which chronicles the overthrow of King Harold by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings

Here’s a superb documentary from The Universe titled: Ride the Comet

 

Sources:
NASA
NASA
NASA

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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

96 thoughts on “Here’s A Brain Twister & More Dirty Snowball Facts

  1. Never would have thought this of comets, but it makes perfect sense. Another excellent article, Victoria. Now, for a religious question: Does Heaven have seasons, or is it just cloudy and hazy always? I go with the latter as cloudy and hazy are the thoughts of theists.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ah yes, poor Harold Godwinson – King Harry took an arrow to the eye. William the Conqueror, (known in France as William the Bastard, though not to his face) saw the comet as an omen that he would be victorious. That the Anglo-Saxons had home field advantage, was less of an incentive to success as was the courage fostered by a belief, however baseless.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Beauties, aren’t they?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Recently met a space lawyer over Thanksgiving and I asked him about progress on ideas to mine asteroids and comets. He proceeded to give me a lecture on all the political, military and defense considerations which interfere with treating these entities as ordinary property to be claimed and exploited for natural resources. I left feeling that big government is already well on its way to spoiling the next big frontier opportunity for humanity.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Awe inspiring video. Now I know a thing or two about comets

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Cool post. I just love astronomy. Because of their highly elliptical orbits, cometary “seasons” are typically more attributable to their distance from the sun than to their rotational inclination (axial tilt). This contrasts with Earth which comes closest to the sun (perihelion) during winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Furthermore, cometary rotation (spin) varies wildly from body to body and some even tumble through space erratically due to extreme asymmetry (irregular shape).

    Think of it this way:

    Planets are round in shape and revolve around the sun in generally circular orbits, so their distance from it doesn’t vary much. Their “seasons” can result from rotational inclination which exposes each hemisphere more directly to the sun at opposite times of its year (e.g. Earth, Mars). But, this isn’t always the case. Venus doesn’t really have any discernible seasons because of its slight inclination, extremely long rotational period (retrograde), and its incredibly thick atmosphere. A day on Venus is actually longer than its year. Likewise, the seasons on Uranus must be truly bizarre because that planet is tipped over sideways!

    With their highly elliptical orbits (non-circular), most comets spend the vast majority of their year in the dark, cold, outer reaches of the solar system. When they get closer to the sun, they speed up and race by very quickly. At which time their surfaces interact with solar wind and radiation causing the spectacular cometary “tails” of human folklore. So – for most comets – their “summers” are short and violent, while their “winters” are long and frozen.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love space! Oh, I love it!
    Thank you for sharing this and triggering my inner space nerd. I remember sitting out on our family porch some time in the 80s waiting for Haley’s comet. It was magic 🙂

    Hey! I’m going to send you an e-mail before Friday. Just to say hi and to let you know that I’ll be out of touch for about a week.
    Love you sister!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Michelle. My apologies for the delay in responding. I have way too many irons in the fire, and in the middle of packing and moving, to boot. Right now you are sitting on the tranquil white sandy beaches, surrounded by crystal clear, aqua blue water and getting a much needed vacation. How’s the nectar there? 😉 Thank you for your email, and for taking the time to read my post and comment. You know I luvs ya. xoxoxo

      P.S. — don’t forget to bring back some of that premium nectar. I’ve de-spotted my crystal. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Question everything! Examine everything! Experiment with everything! Then go back (sooner or later) and do it all again! Evolution is a beautiful beautiful human trait — if it’s done right. If it isn’t done right, well honestly, the Universe/Multiverse will still proceed naturally. LOL

    Love it Victoria! Wonderful, inspiring, thought-provoking post!
    Big long hug! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello my dear friend. It’s great to see you again. No, the rhyme was not intentional. 😀 Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Yes Sir — question everything — examine everything — experiment with everything. Well said!

      Big, long hug right back at cha. 🐻

      P.S. — I’m behind on my reader, but I promise to get to your latest post very soon. I always, always, I said always, look forward to reading your informative, intelligent, and very interesting posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post Victoria, and I enjoyed the video. That probe landing was pretty amazing to hear about last month. It’s so cool to think about all the progress that’s been made in space research

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Howie — sorry so late getting back with you. Thanks for taking the time to watch the video. I post them especially for you because I know that is one of your preferred methods of learning. *raised my hand, too* I agree that it is so cool to think about all the progress that’s been made in space research, and I have exuberant anticipation about what new discoveries await us that are just around the corner. 🙂

      “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ~ Carl Sagan

      Like

      • Thanks for remembering that Victoria. 🙂 Somehow seeing and hearing people speak sticks a little better for me than reading words on a page. Love the Sagan quote.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “Somehow seeing and hearing people speak sticks a little better for me than reading words on a page.”

          Ditto, my friend. 🙂

          Like

        • I’m the exact opposite, Howie – when I read something, I can come back later – sometimes YEARS later – and re-read it, as I can see it in my mind, but I don’t nearly as well retain what I hear.

          I once argued this point with one of my psych instructors, who down-graded me for missing so much class, preferring instead to stay in the student union, where I could read the text over coffee. His argument was that there was so much presented in class that wasn’t in the textbook, so at the beginning of the next semester, I took copious notes – in our first meeting, he spoke of his family, his family’s summer vacation, his family dog – of the 50-minute hour, 6 were devoted to the actual subject, for which I was paying my tuition. When I pointed this out to him after class – well let’s just say I didn’t think a college professor knew such language!

          Like

      • I just finished watching part 3 of “The Fabric of the Cosmos” – fascinating! Entangled quantum particles seem not to recognize the boundaries of space-time! I get all goose-pimply! (That sounded kinda nerdy, didn’t it? OK – football, beer, pizza, ungh! – is that better?)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. “I get all goose-pimply! (That sounded kinda nerdy, didn’t it?”

    Yes, and I love it! 😀

    OK – football, beer, pizza, ungh! – is that better?)

    Only in moderation.

    Like

  11. Thinking of you, Victoria!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “Comets are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust” That’s quite an image. Stellar post, Victoria. Thank you. Must also get the other half to see this video.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lest anyone forget, Chanukah begins today! ííííÎìììì – Shalom y’all!

    Like

  14. hi vi. wow…perfect post. right from quote to images, video and info. awesome as usual. missed being here. wishing u a very happy new year. loads of love

    Liked by 1 person

    • RE: “hi vi.

      Sorry, rihaansh, but as I, myself, have been corrected and severely chastened, so, too, must I pass on to you: “My name is Victoria.” Thus She-who-must-be-obeyed, hath spoken!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you my friend. Sarala, it’s been a while. I hope all is well with you. Have missed you a lot. Thank you for taking the time to read my post and for your thoughtful comment. Don’t pay any attention to Arch. He just likes being a royal pain in the (you know what). Happy New Year to you, as well. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • lol…. must say u r lucky to have such royal pain….yep all well. .. was slightly occupied with something new. now will make it point to spend sometime here. missed quite a lot I guess.

        Like

        • lol…. must say u r lucky to have such royal pain

          Funny, that’s just what I’VE been saying! Great minds really DO think alike!
          (Actually, she’s crazy about me, she just hides it well –)

          Like

  15. Our beautiful and mysterious universe. So much to learn … so little time. 😀

    I just love watching documentaries like this Victoria. I wish I had a spacecraft like that. Can you imagine all the travelling we would do? 😆

    My youngest son and I watched this together and laughed at the superstitious part of the comets. Just shows you what beliefs can do. 😀

    Thanks for sharing hon and wishing you all the best for 2015. 😀 ❤

    Like

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