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Prometheus Books. Veteran comet hunter and eloquent popular astronomy writer David H. Levy takes amateur sky-watchers on a fascinating journey into deep space in this enthusiastic and informative survey of the many far distant yet observable objects in the night sky. Light years beyond our solar system, deep sky objects include such intriguing phenomena as double and triple stars, nebulae, galaxies, and quasars.

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Deep Sky Objects: The Best and Brightest from Four Decades of Comet Chasing

Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode. The theory was initially proposed by physicist Luis Alvarez and others. Since then, astronomers have become increasingly a ware of the risk of future impacts, and major efforts are underway to discover and calculate the orbits for all asteroids larger than 1 km wide. A scale for comparing the potential risks of newly-found asteroids, the Torino scale , was proposed in Since then, a number of asteroids have presented a future risk of impact, but in most cases those were quickly ruled out by further observations which refined the calculation of their orbits.

An Observing Guide For Comets

The main exceptions so far have been DA , which has a possible collision course with Earth in the year , and MN4 , now renamed Apophis , which has a slight possibility of impact in An earlier possible impact path for Apophis , in , has been ruled out, but will be the closest known miss ever predicted for a large asteroid, and will be visible to the naked eye from some parts of the Earth.

Rather than only waiting for comets and asteroids to arrive on Earth, astronomers have also been sending probes into space to chase down the objects.

Halley's in history

Flying through its tail of dust and gas — the coma — it obtained good images of the irregular, potato-shaped nucleus. It survived and obtained high-resolution images that showed large, deep steep-sided circular depressions , which were initially interpreted as craters. Later analysis showed they are more likely collapsed vents caused by jets of gas bursting out from deeper layers of ice. Stardust returned to Earth in January with precious samples comet dust.

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Asteroids were first observed close-up by the Galileo probe on its way to Jupiter, which passed Gaspra in and Ida in , discovering its tiny moon Dactyl. Then came the first dedicated asteroid mission, NEAR Shoemaker , which visited Mathilde in and then went into orbit around Eros in and eventually crash-landed on it. The Japanese Hayabusa probe visited the asteroid Itokawa in , hoping to scoop up some samples to be returned to Earth, but the sampling probe is thought to have failed in this goal and will probably return to Earth empty in 10 years.

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