The science of comets

Scientists have sent 12 missions to explore comets. Here’s what they’re learned about these relics from the early solar system.

Web Extra: A gallery of SOFIA images

Not all of the pictures made it into the magazine. Here are 10 more from Sarah Scoles’ trip to the stratosphere.

Comets: From superstition to science

For thousands of years, scientists thought comets lived within Earth’s atmosphere, and nearly everyone believed these celestial visitors delivered death and destruction with their tails.

Web Extra: Comets in the news — old news

Find out what late 19th- and early 20th-century newspaper reporters had to say about comets.

Illustrated: Anatomy of a comet

Slip into a coma, sweep up a dust tail, and brace yourself against the solar wind.

20 bright comets of the past 50 years

Each of these cosmic visitors of the past half-century told a unique story and captured the attentions of observers and imagers.

Web Extra: Photogenic comets of the 21st century

Just because of a comet isn’t “Great” doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of observation.

Comet ISON blazes into glory

This frozen ball of gas and dust puts on a show in the predawn sky before reaching peak brightness in late November as it skims above the Sun’s surface.

Web Extra: Everything you need to know about Comet ISON

Check out Astronomy.com’s complete coverage of this visitor from the outer solar system.

Totality crosses Africa

Exotic locations, safaris, and an eclipse’s shadow across the Dark Continent will lure travelers to this event November 3.

Web Extra: A solar eclipse gallery

Review the last 12 terrific eclipses of the Sun.

A field trip to the stratosphere

Associate Editor Sarah Scoles takes a ride with SOFIA, a telescope that always flies first class.

Web Extra: Watch a Comet 103P/Hartley flyby

In November 2010, the EPOXI spacecraft flew by the dusty snowball Hartley 2.


Sky this Month
StarDome and Path of the Planets

In Every Issue

From the Editor
New Products
Advertiser Index
Final Frontier
Web Talk
Reader Gallery