Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Comet Encke (officially designated 2P/Encke) is a periodic comet, named after Johann Franz Encke, who through laborious study of its orbit and many calculations was able to link multiple observations in 1786, 1795, 1805 and 1818 to the same object. In 1819 he published his conclusions in the journal Correspondance astronomique , and predicted correctly its return in 1822.
As its official designation implies, Encke's Comet was the second periodic comet discovered after Halley's Comet (aka 1P/Halley). It is unusual in that it was named after the person who calculated its orbit rather than the person who discovered it (Jean-Louis Pons).
Comet Encke is believed to be the originator of the Taurids meteor shower. Some consider the Bronze Age breakup of the originally larger comet to be responsible for ancient destruction in the Fertile Crescent, perhaps evidenced by a large meteor crater in Iraq. The origin of the swastika has also been connected with Comet Encke.
|Orbital period:||3.3 years, hence semi-major axis 2.22 AU (short/small for a comet)|
|Orbital eccentricity:||0.85, hence distance to the Sun from 0.33 to 4.11 AU|
|Orbital inclination:||11.8 degrees|
See biography of Johann Franz Encke.
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