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Ligabue Magazine n° 73
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The Return of Halley's Comet

Text by:
Paolo Maffei

Images:
Photri

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Halley's Comet is approaching Earth. It has not been since June, 1911, though the previous year, in May, it actually passed between the Earth and the Sun and perhaps showered our planet with the contentsof the far end of its tail. In 1948 it reached the furthest point of its orbit, beyond the path travelled by the planet Neptune, more than four and a half billion kilometres from the Sun. Ever since then it has been coming towards us again, slowly at first and then increasingly quickly. Astronomers knew where it was but couldn't see it, just as happens when a ship or aircraft whose route is known is still outside our field of vision. As soon as it was once again within range of the world's largest telescopes repeated attempts were made to trace it, and finally, on the night of October 16th. 1982, it appeared on two photographs taken with the aid of the 5-metre diameter telescope od Mount Palomar Observatory. Since that night astronomers have kept the comet constantly in sight and now its progress is being followes in other observatories too.

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Ligabue Magazine 3

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