We are living in exciting times! What does the comet NEOWISE to do with the pandemic of the covid-19?
But it was not the answer before Tycho Brahe (b. 1546 Sweden – d. 1601 Prague, nationality Danish) who showed, that comets were objects moving much further away from the Moon. There is a paradox in the painting from Giotto di Bondone (- d. 1337)– The Adoration of the Magi – where he is depicting the Star of Bethlehem as a comet, so that some people have traced wrongly this comet as being the comet Halley. It would be interesting to figure out if, di Bondone wanted to emphasize the omen as bad news for the, at that time Governor of the province of Jerusalem, because it could not have been made sense as a good announcement for Jesus birth, or knowingly draw the comet as an irony for the decadence of the church as contrast to the King Jesus. Whatever it is, I do not know, but painters at the time (and all times) had their own way of being critical (I happen to be married to a painter). The comets usually are named by their discoverer and the year of the discover, like Comet 1971a Ikeya-Seki, for example. But NEOWISE refers to Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer; this is a space telescope whose purpose is to look for possible comets or asteroids that could be a hazard to Earth. The comet NEOWISE will also called C/2020 F3. C meaning that it is not a periodic comet; it has almost a parabolic trajectory since its eccentricity is very close to 1; 2020 the year of discovery; F means it was discover during the second half of the month of March; and the 3, means it was the third comet discovered that second half in March. NEOWISE is a long period comet. There are also short period comets. The short period comets are fewer than the long period comets. Comet Halley is a short period comet that returns every 76 years; last time it was to see in 1986. I saw Comet Halley in my years of teaching at the University of Montemorelos, México. That awesome spectacle was to see in the constellation of Sagittarius on March 21 at 5:30 a.m. local time. An unforgettable view. It will be back in 2062, by then, I will be again star dust. The approach of a comet is not perturbing the planets trajectory, since their mass is about 100 millionth of the mass of the Sun; but the brightness changes with the distance of the comet to the Sun and to the Earth. Some additional information, you will find in my video presentation that you may reach clicking below.
Good sources of information:
Astronomia blog – joseVicenteDiaz.com
The NEOWISE picture is from Michael Cain -member of Florida Astrophotography; http://www.coldlifephotography.com