Comet Fact Sheet


[Halley nucleus]

Information on Selected Comets

The image shown is a view of the nucleus of Comet Halley taken by the Giotto spacecraft.
Below is a table of information on selected comets, and at the bottom of the page are
comments on the comets.

  Orbital Perihelion Perihelion Semi-Major Orbital Orbital Absolute
Number and Name Period Date Distance Axis Eccentricity Inclination Magnitude
--------------------------- --------- ---------- ---------- ---------- ------------ ----------- ---------
1P Halley 76.1 yrs. 1986-02-09 0.587 AU 17.94 AU 0.967 162.2 deg. 5.5
2P Encke 3.30 yrs. 2003-12-28 0.340 AU 2.21 AU 0.847 11.8 deg. 9.8
6P d'Arrest 6.51 yrs. 2008-08-01 1.346 AU 3.49 AU 0.614 19.5 deg. 8.5
9P Tempel 1 5.51 yrs. 2005-07-05 1.500 AU 3.12 AU 0.519 10.5 deg. 12.0
19P Borrelly 6.86 yrs. 2001-09-14 1.358 AU 3.61 AU 0.624 30.3 deg. 11.9
21P Giacobini-Zinner 6.52 yrs. 1998-11-21 0.996 AU 3.52 AU 0.706 31.8 deg. 9.0
26P Grigg-Skjellerup 5.09 yrs. 1992-07-22 0.989 AU 2.96 AU 0.664 21.1 deg. 12.5
27P Crommelin 27.89 yrs. 1984-09-01 0.743 AU 9.20 AU 0.919 29.0 deg. 12.0
45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova 5.29 yrs. 1995-12-25 0.528 AU 3.02 AU 0.825 4.3 deg. 13.5
46P Wirtanen 5.46 yrs. 2013-10-21 1.063 AU 3.12 AU 0.652 11.7 deg. 9.0
55P Tempel-Tuttle 32.92 yrs. 1998-02-28 0.982 AU 10.33 AU 0.906 162.5 deg. 9.0
67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko 6.57 yrs. 2002-08-18 1.292 AU 3.51 AU 0.632 7.1 deg.  
73P Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 5.36 yrs. 2006-06-02 0.937 AU 3.06 AU 0.694 11.4 deg. 11.7
75P Kohoutek 6.24 yrs. 1973-12-28 1.571 AU 3.4 AU 0.537 5.4 deg. 12.1
76P West-Kohoutek-Ikemura 6.46 yrs. 2000-06-01 1.596 AU 3.45 AU 0.540 30.5 deg. 10.6
81P Wild 2 6.39 yrs. 2003-09-25 1.583 AU 3.44 AU 0.540 3.2 deg. 6.5
95P Chiron 50.7 yrs. 1996-02-14 8.46 AU 13.7 AU 0.383 7 deg.  
107P Wilson-Harrington 4.29 yrs. 2001-03-26 1.000 AU 2.64 AU 0.623 2.8 deg. 9.0
  Hale-Bopp 4000. yrs. 1997-03-31 0.914 AU 250. AU 0.995 89.4 deg. -1.0
  Hyakutake ~40000. yrs. 1996-05-01 0.230 AU ~1165. AU 0.9998 124.9 deg.  

Halley - Subject of the International Halley Watch (IHW), a coordinated effort of ground-based and spacecraft observations.
Encke - Planned encounter by CONTOUR mission on 12 November 2003. Radar observations made by Arecibo Observatory in 1980 indicated a radius of 0.4 to 4.0 km.
d'Arrest - Planned encounter by CONTOUR mission on 16 August 2008.
Tempel 1 - Planned flyby and projectile impact by the Deep Impact mission on 4 July 2005.
Borrelly - Target of Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2001.
Giacobini-Zinner - Target of ICE flyby on 11 Sep 1985 within 7800 km.
Grigg-Skjellerup - Target of Giotto flyby (within 200 km) on 10 July 1992.
Crommelin - Subject of 1984 test of the IHW network.
Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova - Originally planned target of Sakigake flyby at 10,000 km on 3 Feb 1996.
Wirtanen - Originally scheduled to be visited by the ESA Rosetta mission in 2011. Mission rerouted.
Temple-Tuttle - Originally planned target of Suisei flyby on 28 Feb 1998.
Churyumov-Gerasimenko - Studied from orbit by Rosetta mission.
Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 - Planned encounter by CONTOUR mission on 18 June 2006. Split into three large pieces in 1995.
Kohoutek - Observed by Skylab astronauts in Dec 1973 and Jan 1974.
West-Kohoutek-Ikemura - Original target of New Millenium Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2000.
Wild 2 - Target of the Discovery coma sample return mission, Stardust , in Jan 2004.
Wilson-Harrington - At one time a possible target of Deep Space 1 spacecraft in 2001.
Chiron - Comet/asteroid, also known as asteroid 2060 Chiron. Subject of the Chiron Perihelion Campaign
Hale-Bopp - Discovered in July 1995. Bright comet, made closest approach to Earth on 22 March 1997.
Hyakutake - Discovered in January 1996. Bright comet, passed within 0.1 AU of Earth on 25 March 1996.

Notes on the Fact Sheets
 Comet Home Page
Directory to other Planetary Fact Sheets

NASA
Author/Curator:
Dr. David R. Williams, dave.williams@nasa.gov
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
+1-301-286-1258


NASA Official: Ed Grayzeck, edwin.j.grayzeck@nasa.gov
Last Updated: 04 January 2016, DRW