How Consistent Are the Orbits Of Comets Around the Sun and How Many Comets Have Had Their Paths Tracked?

Comets’ orbits around the Sun are not reliable.

While the paths of more than 100 short-period comets have been mapped or tracked, astronomers can suddenly “lose” a comet.

Sometimes it is simply gone. Other times, when it is found, it isn’t always as expected.

The Wilson-Harrington comet, discovered in 1949, was expected to return in 1952.

It wasn’t seen again until 1979, and then it came back resembling an asteroid instead of a comet.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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