It has been a while since we have seen a bright, exciting naked-eye comet. It feels like a good time to share a little about comets. Comets are chunks of dirty ice from the outer reaches of our solar system. Some comets are periodic; they return to our skies on a set schedule and orbit in an ellipse around the sun. Others are one-time visitors.

When they visit the inner solar system, they heat up from the warmth of the sun. When this happens, some of the ice turns to gas and this dust and gas forms a tail. These are the beautiful objects that sometimes grace our nighttime skies. The most famous comet is Halley’s Comet. It returns every 76 years.

Join us at the Insperity Observatory for public night. It is the first Friday of each month from sunset to 10 p.m.: humbleisd.net/observatory.

Aaron Clevenson
Author: Aaron ClevensonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I am the observatory director at the Insperity Observatory in Humble ISD. I am also an adjunct astronomy professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery where I teach solar system astronomy and stars and galaxies astronomy. I am the author of the astronomy textbook, “Astronomy for Mere Mortals.” I am a past president of the North Houston Astronomy Club, and was the chair of Astronomy Day in Southeast Texas in 2015 and 2016. He is an observing program director with The Astronomical League, coordinates their Master Observer Progression Awards, and has authored six of their observing programs.