On December 9, the most well-known of all comets, Halley, hits a significant milestone in its 75-year trek through the solar system. It reaches aphelion, which is its farthest farthest distance from the Sun. Certainly, Halley’s Comet has left an indelible impact on the annals of history. It succeeded in reaching a tremendous number of fans worldwide! Back in 1696, Sir Edmond Halley was the first person to observe the recurrence of the comet, which he linked to the subsequent appearances. Just imagine what he would’ve felt back then! Halley was able to accurately forecast the recurrence of the comet that is now known as the Halley comet in the year 1758, but he did not survive to witness its arrival. This is such an incredible story!
Forever Halley’s Comet: Where Is It Now?
Halley’s comet has not been observed by anyone since the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory succeeded in capturing an image of it back in 2003, which is quite a long time. There were up to 28 Astronomical Units (AU) between it and our planet at the time, and its magnitude was +28. But thanks to new data, we know more about Halley’s Comet!
The precise time of aphelion takes place on December 9, which is a few days away, at one o’clock in the afternoon by Universal Time. Halley’s comet will be 35.14 astronomical units (AU) away from the Sun at that point, which is equivalent to roughly 3.3 billion miles or 5.3 billion meters. Incredible in every way!
Moreover, according to our point of view on Earth, the comet will spend the next several decades lingering in the constellation Hydra and then moving toward the constellation Canis Minor. In the year 2050, the comet will travel in close proximity to the brilliant star Procyon. Fascinating indeed!
Here’s an intriguing fact: The Chinese started making studies of Halley’s Comet as far back as 467 BC. Then, everyone was able to see the comet’s appearance in the year 1066. In the time leading up to the passing away of King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings and the subsequent elevation of William the Conqueror to the throne, its apparition was seen as a portent before both events.
What’s Going to Happen Next?
On July 28, 2061, Halley’s Comet will reach its next perihelion, and it may breach absolute magnitudes in the months that follow. During the month of September 2061, observers in the northern hemisphere will see Halley’s come into view close to the northwest around dusk.