SETI bioastro: Comet P/2001 J1 (NEAT) = Comet Biela?

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From: Larry Klaes (
Date: Wed May 30 2001 - 12:32:41 PDT

-----Original Message-----
From: History of Astronomy Discussion Group
[mailto:HASTRO-L@WVNVM.WVNET.EDU]On Behalf Of Ron Baalke
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 8:29 PM
Subject: Comet P/2001 J1 (NEAT) = Comet Biela?

IAU Circular 7635 reports on the similarity of
newly discovered Comet P/2001 J1 (NEAT)'s orbit with Comet Biela.
Comet Biela was first observed in 1772, and was identified in 1826
by Wilhelm von Biela to have a short periodic orbit, only
the third periodic comet known at the time (after Halley and Encke).
In 1846, Comet Biela surprisingly split up into two fragments. I
believe this was the first time a comet was observed to break up.
The two fragments were observed for some months after the
breakup. In 1852, only one of the fragments was still visible.
Comet Biela hasn't been seen since 1852. In 1872, a large meteor storm
was linked to the orbit of Comet Biela. Large meteor showers in 1885
and 1899 were also attributed to the comet.

Now, it appears that Comet P/2001 J1 (NEAT) may possibly be one
of the fragments of Comet Biela that has been missing for
nearly 150 years.

Ron Baalke

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