The comet, named after astronomer Richard West, who discovered it in 1975. Passing near the Sun, comet has become one of the most exciting in the last few decades.
In addition to the major planets and asteroids move around the Sun the comet. Comets are the largest objects in the Solar system. The word “comet” in Greek means “hairy”, “long-haired”. When approaching the Sun the comet takes a spectacular view and heated under the action of solar heat so that the gas and dust fly from the surface, forming a bright tail.
The appearance of most comets are unpredictable. People paid attention to them since time immemorial. It is impossible not to notice the sky is a spectacle so rare, and so terrifying, scarier than any of the Eclipse, when the sky can be seen the misty light, sometimes so bright that can Shine through the clouds (1577), eclipsing even the moon. And from the depths of heaven uninvited guest pulled out a huge tails… Aristotle in the IV century BC explained the phenomenon of the comet as follows: lightweight, warm, “dry air” (gases of the Earth) rises to the limits of the atmosphere, falls into the sphere of heavenly fire and ignite – it formed the “tailed stars”. Aristotle argued that comets cause severe storms, drought. His views were universally accepted for two millennia. In the middle ages comets were considered predestination and epidemics. So the invasion of the Normans in southern England in 1066 was associated with the appearance in the sky of Halley’s comet. With the appearance in the sky of the comet and the associated fall of Constantinople in 1456.
By studying the appearance of the comet in 1577, Tycho Brahe found that it moves far beyond the orbit of the moon. Began the study of the orbits of comets.
The first fanatic, eager for discoveries of comets, was an employee of the Paris Observatory, Charles Messier. In the history of astronomy he is known as the compiler of the catalogue of nebulae and star clusters, intended to search for comets, not to accept a distant foggy objects for new comets. The catalog includes scattered and globular clusters and galaxies. The Andromeda galaxy is the Messier catalog name of M31. At 39 years of observations Messier discovered 14 new comets!
In the first half of the nineteenth century among “foragers” comets especially notable was Jean Ponce. Guard Marseilles Observatory, and later Director, he decided to join the observations of tailed stars. Ponce built a small Amateur telescope and, following the example of his compatriot Messier started looking for comet. It was so exciting that for 26 years he has opened 33 new comet! Not by chance that the astronomers have nicknamed it the “Comet magnet”. The record of Ponce, is still unsurpassed.
Comet open every year. On average, they offer about 20 per year. Available observations of approximately 50 comets, and in the history of mankind has been observed for about two thousand appearances of comets.