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In this book, one of the world's foremost authorities on comets takes us on a voyage of discovery from the earliest speculations on the meaning of comets to his own pioneering research into both the nature of comets and the mysteries of our solar system. Professor Whipple begins by examining the earliest observations and notions of comets from the first recorded observation by the Chinese in 2315 B.C. to the cosmogonies and mythologies of the Babylonians and the Mayans. He then carries us step by step from the exciting time when Sir Isaac Newton formulated the law of gravity and Edmund Halley made the first correct prediction of a comet's return, up to a heady glimpse of extraterrestrial exploits still to come - the space missions to Halley's comet and the first landing on a comet, tentatively planned for 1995. In so doing, he addresses basic but long elusive questions about comets: Where do they come from? Do they die? Why do some comets seemingly defy gravity? What is the landscape of a comet like? Why does the head of a comet change when it draws near the sun?… (more)
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In this book, one of the world's foremost authorities on comets takes us on a voyage of discovery from the earliest speculations on the meaning of comets to his own pioneering research into both the nature of comets and the mysteries of our solar system. Professor Whipple begins by examining the earliest observations and notions of comets from the first recorded observation by the Chinese in 2315 B.C. to the cosmogonies and mythologies of the Babylonians and the Mayans. He then carries us step by step from the exciting time when Sir Isaac Newton formulated the law of gravity and Edmund Halley made the first correct prediction of a comet's return, up to a heady glimpse of extraterrestrial exploits still to come - the space missions to Halley's comet and the first landing on a comet, tentatively planned for 1995. In so doing, he addresses basic but long elusive questions about comets: Where do they come from? Do they die? Why do some comets seemingly defy gravity? What is the landscape of a comet like? Why does the head of a comet change when it draws near the sun?

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