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By Ron Miller

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Extra info for Asteroids, Comets and Meteors (Worlds Beyond)

Sample text

D. 66, which was associated with the destruction of Jerusalem four years later. Five orbits later, it was linked to the fall of Attila the Hun in 451. In 1066 it appeared in the sky during the Norman conquest of England and is depicted in the famous Bayeux Tapestry, which was created to commemorate the inva- sion. The American author Mark Twain was very proud that he’d been born in a year, 1835, when Halley’s Comet was in the sky—and by a strange coincidence, he died in 1910, the next time the comet came around.

This time, however, it was met by a spacecraft sent from Earth: the Giotto probe, which took the first close-up photos of the comet’s nucleus. THE MOST FAMOUS COMET Sir Edmond Halley Here Earth and the Moon are seen passing through the tail of a large comet, much as they did in 1910, when the tail of Halley’s Comet swept past our planet. So tenuous is the tail of a comet—“the next best thing to nothing at all,” as one astronomer put it—that Earth would not be affected at all. COMET HUNTERS What Are Comets?

Does this mean that Earth was somehow spared this bombardment? There are several reasons that meteor craters are so hard to find on Earth. The surface of Earth is also constantly being recycled as its continental plates drift around, so that very old craters may be destroyed entirely. 8 km) wide blasted by a meteorite in the Arizona desert 20,000 years ago.

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