This Day, That Year – September 18

This Day, That Year – September 18

This day in history we feature Comet Ikeya-Seki. This comet was discovered independently by Kaoru Ikeya and Tsutomu Seki on this day in 1965.

Trivia – Comet Ikeya Seki

Comet Ikeya-Seki was observed as a faint telescopic object, the first calculations of its orbit suggested that on October 21, it would pass just 450,000 km above the Sun’s surface, and would probably become extremely bright. Comets can defy such predictions, but Ikeya–Seki performed as expected. As it approached perihelion observers reported that it was clearly visible in the daytime sky next to the Sun.

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In Japan, where it reached perihelion at local noon, it was seen shining at magnitude −10. It proved to be one of the brightest comets seen in the last thousand years, and is sometimes known as the Great Comet of 1965. The comet was seen to break into three pieces just before its perihelion passage. The three pieces continued in almost identical orbits, and the comet re-appeared in the morning sky in late October, showing a very bright tail. By early 1966, it had faded from view as it receded into the outer Solar System. Ikeya–Seki is a member of the Kreutz sungrazers, which are suggested to be fragments of a large comet which broke up in 1106.

Source – Wikipedia

This day in history – Robert College

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