Comet's Tale: History/Exploration
DATE: 1900

Photographs of comets capture their individuality as seen from Earth

Early Photographs of Comets: Yerkes Observatory
As they invented more powerful telescopes and ways of photographing comets during the 1900's, people discovered much more about them. For instance, they discovered that comets lose material each time they pass the sun.  With each trip around the sun, a comet becomes smaller and smaller, and may even disappear. Scientists predict that some comets have a life of about 76,000 years. These are the comets that travel quickly around the sun, like Comet Halley. Is traveling around the sun every 76 years fast for a comet? Yes! Some comets take a hundred thousand (100,000) years or more. If you just missed one of these comets and are waiting to see it, you will have to wait 100,000 years for it to come back. So, sit back and relax!

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