When will Hale-Bopp return?
The current estimate is circa 4380 CE. Hale-Bopp's orbital period was altered due to the gravitational effects of approaching Jupiter as closely as 0.77AU (1 AU = average distance between earth and sun) in April 1996. The orbital period before it approached the solar system planets was about 4200a (years), which changed to 3280a following the gravitational interaction with Jupiter.
Like most comets, Hale-Bopp also releases large jets of easily vaporized material when it approaches the sun. While predominantly H2O, many other compounds such as acetaldehyde, prussic acid, and hydrogen sulfide are also present in these jets. Even though such outgassing has been modeled, it introduces additional uncertainties to orbital period estimation.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 14850 times since September 30, 2007.
Last modified: September 30, 2007 10:07:29 AM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)