Observing and Defining Comets - Research Article from Science and Its Times

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Observing and Defining Comets

Overview

By the middle of the fifteenth century, improvements in the accuracy of astronomical observing instruments and the use of geometrical mathematics presaged a closer look at the strange fiery visitors known as comets and a new era in astronomy beyond dependence on a mix of Greek traditions and instrumental inaccuracy. The sixteenth century marked a landmark period of fortuitous comet appearances, affording a level of observation that pushed professional opinion toward the celestial origin of comets, rather than an ancient terrestrial one. Into the seventeenth century, the appearance of comets and accurate observational data prompted research into past comet records and comparisons which along with the inspiration of the elliptical orbital nature of the solar system and new mechanical theory brought the recognition that comets were celestial, had orbits, and were periodic.

Background

Comets, the transient astronomical phenomena that remain long...

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This section contains 2,282 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Observing and Defining Comets Encyclopedia Article
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Science and Its Times
Observing and Defining Comets from Science and Its Times. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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