In 2061, Halley’s Comet will return to pass by Earth in 75-year long round trip across the solar system. But what else do we know about this mysterious visitor?
Studying the reports of comet sightings in 1531, 1607, and 1682, Edmond Halley deduced that these comets were in fact the same one and that it would return in 1758. Though Halley died in 1742, the comet did indeed return in 1758 and was named after its discoverer. When Halley’s comet returned in 1986, technology had finally allowed astronomers to study it. Probes from multiple international space programs were sent take close-up pictures of the comet for the first time. Research has shown that Halley’s comet is slowly losing about a thousandth of its mass with every loop around. Although it will still take thousands of years to finally die out, it is disheartening to see that not all things in the universe are permanent.