front cover of Comets
Laurel L. Wilkening
University of Arizona Press, 1982
Over forty authorities present sections on the nucleus, dust, coma, and tails of comets, along with sections on their origin, and relationships to other solar system bodies. . . . An excellent book.—Space News

"The volume is highly recommended to all interested in comets and the Solar System."—Journal of the British Astronomical Association

"A good representation of the studies that are currently being done on comets, and it is an extremely good source of information on a wide variety of topics."—International Comet Quarterly

"Extremely well-written and informative. . . . A must for library collections."—The Observatory

front cover of Comets II
Comets II
Edited by M. C. Festou, H. U. Keller, and H. A. Weaver
University of Arizona Press, 2004
The study of comets is a field that has seen tremendous advances in recent years, far surpassing the knowledge reflected in the original Comets volume published as part of the Space Science Series in 1982. This new volume, with more than seventy contributing authors, represents the first complete overview of comet science in more than a decade and contains the most extensive collection of knowledge yet assembled in the field.

Comets II situates comet science in the global context of astrophysics for the first time by beginning with a series of chapters that describe the connection between stars and planets. It continues with a presentation of the formation and evolution of planetary systems, enabling the reader to clearly see the key role played in our own solar system by the icy planetesimals that were the seeds of the giant planets and transneptunian objects.

The book presents the key results obtained during the 1990s, in particular those collected during the apparition of the exceptional comets C/Hyakutake and C/Hale-Bopp in 1996-1997. The latest results obtained from the in situ exploration of comets P/Borrelly and P/Wild 2 are also discussed in detail.

Each topic of is designed to be accessible to students or young researchers looking for basic, yet detailed, complete and accurate, information on comet science. With its emphasis on the origin of theories and the future of research, Comets II will enable scientists to make connections across disciplinary boundaries and will set the stage for discovery and new understanding in the coming years.


front cover of Comets
Nature and Culture
P. Andrew Karam
Reaktion Books, 2017
Radiating fire and ice, comets as a phenomenon seem part science, part myth. Two thousand years ago when a comet shot across the night sky, it convinced the Romans that Julius Caesar was a god. In 1066, Halley’s Comet was interpreted as a foreshadowing of the death of Harold the Second in the Battle of Hastings. Even today the arrival of a comet often feels auspicious, confirming our hopes, fears, and sense of wonder in the universe.

In Comets, P. Andrew Karam takes the reader on a far-ranging exploration of these most beautiful and dramatic objects in the skies, revealing how comets and humanity have been interwoven throughout history. He delves into the science of comets and how it has changed over time; the way comets have been depicted in art, religion, literature, and popular culture; and how comets have appeared in the heavens through the centuries. Comprehensive in scope and beautifully illustrated throughout, the book will appeal not only to the budding astronomer, but to anyone with an appreciation for these compelling and remarkable celestial bodies.

front cover of Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids
Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids
Edited by T. Gehrels
University of Arizona Press, 1995
In 1993, the U.S. Department of Defense declassified information dealing with frequent explosions in the upper atmosphere caused by meteoric impact. It is estimated that impacts have occurred of a magnitude equivalent to the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima. Not all such space voyagers meet their end in the atmosphere, however; huge craters attest to the bombardment of earth over millions of years, and a major impact may have resulted in the extinction of dinosaurs. An impact in Siberia near the beginning of this century proves that such events are not confined to geologic time. Hazards Due to Comets and Asteroids marks a significant step in the attempt to come to grips with the threats posed by such phenomena. It brings together more than one hundred scientists from around the world, who draw on observational and theoretical research to focus on the technical problems related to all aspects of dealing with these hazards: searching for and identifying hazardous comets and asteroids; describing their statistics and characteristics; intercepting and altering the orbits of dangerous objects; and applying existent technologies—rocket boosters, rendezvous and soft-landing techniques, instrumentation—to such missions. The book considers defensive options for diverting or disrupting an approaching body, including solar sails, kinetic-energy impacts, nuclear explosives, robotic mass drivers, and various propulsion systems. A cataclysmic impact posing a threat to life on Earth is a possibility that tomorrow's technology is capable of averting. This book examines in depth the reality of the threat and proposes practical measures that can be initiated now should we ever need to deal with it.

front cover of Riding on Comets
Riding on Comets
A Memoir
Cat Pleska
West Virginia University Press, 2015

Riding on Comets is the true story of an only child growing up in a working-class family during the 1950s and ‘60s. 

As the family storyteller, Cat Pleska whispers and shouts about her life growing up around savvy, strong women and hard-working, hard-drinking men. Unlike many family stories set within Appalachia, this story provides an uncommon glimpse into this region: not coal, but an aluminum plant; not hollers, but small-town America; not hillbillies, but a hard-working family with traditional values. 

From the dinner table, to the back porch, to the sprawling countryside, Cat Pleska reveals the sometimes tender, sometimes frightening education of a child who listens at the knees of these giants. She mimics and learns every nuance, every rhythm—how they laugh, smoke, cuss, fight, love, and tell stories—as she unwittingly prepares to carry their tales forward, their words and actions forever etched in her mind. And finally, she discovers a life story of her own. 


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