Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture

Frontiers of Astronomy Community Lecture

Great Comets: What makes them great?

with Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons, Queen’s University Belfast

Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 7:30 p.m.

UH Manoa Art Auditorium


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About once a decade, a truly spectacular comet is visible even through the bright city lights. This year, we may see two of them. Historically, these appearances have induced both fear and wonder. In modern times, the wonder remains, and scientists use them to gain new insights into the nature of comets and the history of our solar system. While we cannot do anything about how often they appear, new facilities such as the Pan-STARRS telescope on Maui can give us advance warning about when they will arrive. But what makes a comet “great” anyway? Come along and find out.