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Guest: Dr. Alan Hale; Topics: Alan talked about the current comet of interest, Tsuchinshan-Atlas (C/2023 A3) plus comets in general, their history, characteristics, origins, myths and more.
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We welcomed Dr. Alan Hale, co-discoverer of the spectacular Hale-Bopp comet back to the show to talk comets in general, plus the newest one in our skies. The newest one was discovered in China and is referred to as Tsuchinshan-Atlas (C/2023 A3). Alan told us an interesting story about it first being found by the Purple Mtn Observatory in China and then rediscovered a short lime later. This comet has its closest point to the sun in about 18 months so we need to wait to see if it is spectacular or now. Alan also talked about the recent comet, called the Green comet, Comet ZTF. We have talked about this one before with Alan on a recent Hotel Mars show.
During our time spent with Alan, we talked about myths associated with comets including Heavens Gate, the Companion and all focused on Hale-Bobb quite some time ago. In fact, the Hale Bopp comet still garnered a significant amount of discussion time on this program. Listeners also called in or sent an email asking about the comet they remember. Some of the stories came near the end of the show when Tony called and started talking about the Griffith Observatory and comets.
Our guest spent considerable time talking about the science of comets, the Ort Cloud area which is where most in our solar system originate as they are early remnants of our solar system. Alan mentioned interstellar comets in the same part of the discussion. In addition, our guest pointed out that today most comets are found by using large scale sky surveys. Finding comets by "comet hunting" astronomers seldom happens given the availability of the sky surveys.
Additional topics to that of comets included a mention of the April 2024 upcoming solar eclipse that come up from Mexico and veers over parts of the US on the eastern side on up and away. In addition to talking about solar eclipses, Alan mentioned leading observatories doing sky survey work and noted comet astronomers such as David Levy of Jupiter fame.
Alan regularly posts comet news on his Facebook page so if interested, check it out from time to time or sign up for his messages. Jus loot for facebook.com/alan.hale. Alan's website is www.earthriseinstitute.org.
Please post your comments/questions for Dr. Hale on our blog for this show. You can reach Alan through The Space Show or his website or Facebook page per above.