Comet Encke

From Academic Kids

Comet Encke (officially designated 2P/Encke) is a periodic comet, named after Johann Franz Encke, who through laborious study of its orbit and many calculations was able to link multiple observations in 1786 (2P/1786 B1), 1795 (2P/1795 V1), 1805 (2P/1805 U1) and 1818 (2P/1818 W1) to the same object. In 1819 he published his conclusions in the journal Correspondance astronomique, and predicted correctly its return in 1822 (2P/1822 L1).

As its official designation implies, Encke's Comet was the second periodic comet discovered after Halley's Comet (aka 1P/Halley). It is unusual in that it was named after the person who calculated its orbit rather than the person who discovered it (Jean-Louis Pons).

Comet Encke is believed to be the originator of the Taurids meteor shower. Some consider the Bronze Age breakup of the originally larger comet to be responsible for ancient destruction in the Fertile Crescent, perhaps evidenced by a large meteor crater in Iraq. The origin of the swastika has also been connected with Comet Encke.

Comet parameters

Diameter:1–3 km
Orbital period:3.3 years, hence semi-major axis 2.22 AU (short/small for a comet)
Orbital eccentricity:0.85, hence distance to the Sun from 0.33 to 4.11 AU
Orbital inclination:11.8 degrees
Discovered:1819

Discovery

See biography of Johann Franz Encke.

External links

ca:Cometa Encke de:Enckescher Komet es:Cometa Encke ja:エンケ彗星 nl:Komeet Enckesv:Encke

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