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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Crash Course Astronomy: Comets

By Phil Plait

When it comes to exciting solar system exploration right now, comets are right there at the top. With Rosetta orbiting the comet 67P for nearly a year now, and hearing once again from the nearly-lost Philae lander, it’s a great time to be an astronomer studying these icy worldlets.

I’ve loved comets for a long time; I’ve seen ones bright enough to spot naked eye, too faint to be seen without a telescope, and one that was near the Sun and so bright it was visible in broad daylight! They used to be considered omens, but when you cast aside superstition what you find are endlessly amazing and fascinating examples of nature at its best.

I could go on and on, but instead … I’ll let me go on and on, in this week’s episode of Crash Course Astronomy.

Mea culpa: I mispronounced Bayeux. Dangit. It's BYE-you, not BAY-you. I blame Scott Baio.*

If you want to know more about the Rosetta mission—and you do—I’ve written about it a lot. I’ve also written quite a few articles about comets both generally and in specifics. It’s somewhat amazing how little we knew about them until recently, and how much staggering information we’ve been able to find about them in just the past few years.

And after all that, if you think you know everything about comets, then perhaps you’d like to take a look at this article, “10 Thing You Don’t Know About Comets.” How many did you know before watching Crash Course?

*Correction, June 19, 2015: This post originally misspelled actor Scott Baio’s last name.

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