Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Comets and their orbits
Name: ejohnson
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1993 - 1999


Question:
How do comets begin their orbits?

What could have happened to Halley's Comet between 1832 and 1911? It seems that Halley's comet slowed down for that period of time- the time of re-occurrence between 1832 and 1911. The current pattern of re-occurrence seems to be once every 74 yrs. then 76 yrs, then 74yrs. then 76yrs. and so on. The time between 1832 and 1911 displays a 79 yr re-occurrence. Please help us in answering these questions. THANKS!


Replies:
Comets spend most of their time in the Oort cloud, well beyond the orbit of Pluto. Everything that is part of our solar system is in orbit. The orbits of comets are unpredictable because of gravitational interactions with the gas giant planets, especially Jupiter.

John Hawley



Click here to return to the Astronomy Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory