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Comets in the Northern Hemisphere vs the Southern?

  1. Feb 27, 2013 #1
    Hey all,

    I haven't been alive for that long, so I guess my data probably isn't as good as it should be, but in my experience there have been far more noteworthy comets appearing only to the southern hemisphere, and not to the northern one. In fact, I haven't ever seen a comet (since I was a child - too young to remember it, though), yet I think I can name half a dozen comets which I've seen news articles for; always with a "visible from the southern hemisphere."

    Is there a reason for them showing up in the southern hemisphere more? Or is it just luck? Or is my data just wrong? :tongue:
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2013 #2


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    Halley's comet reportedly was quite spectacularly visible in the northern hemisphere when it passed by in 1910. In 1986, this same comet was all but invisible in the northern latitudes and could only be observed in the southern hemisphere.

    I don't know your age, but Comet Hayakutake was quite visible at New Orleans in 1997 even downtown where there was quite a bit of light pollution.

    Comet Kohoutek was supposed to be very spectacular when it passed by in 1973. It was a spectacular flop. I don't recall anyone who saw it.

    Comets vary in visibility due to a number of factors.
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