Asteroids, Comets and Meteors

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4.5Bil BP    A meteor of this age, named the Canyon Diablo meteorite, was later held by the Smithsonian Institute.
    (SJSVB, 9/9/96, p.14A)

3.26Bil BC    An asteroid at least 23 miles wide hit Earth about this time triggering global earthquakes and tsunamis across all the world’s oceans. Scientists in 2014 reported that ancient rocks in the Barberton Greenstone of East Africa indicated this to have been one of the most powerful events to ever shape the face of Earth.
    (SFC, 4/10/14, p.D1)

254.7Mil BC    In 2012 scientists dated the 40km Araguainha crater, on the border of Brazil’s Mato Grosso and Goias states, to this time. They believed that the release of oil and gas from the impact of a meteorite led to the great Permian extinction.
    (Econ, 7/27/13, p.64)

160Mil BC    A collision likely occurred in the asteroid belt orbiting the sun about 100 million miles from Earth. One of these asteroids was later named Baptistina. In 2007 US and Czech researchers used computer simulations to calculate that there was a 90 percent probability that the collision of two asteroids, one about 105 miles wide and one about 40 miles wide, was the event that precipitated the Earthly disaster of 65Mil BC, when an asteroid hit the Earth on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. They said another fragment likely created the Tycho crater on the moon at about 110Mil BC.
    (Reuters, 9/5/07)(SFC, 9/6/07, p.A14)(Econ, 9/8/07, p.81)

66.038Mil BC    About this time a comet struck the area of the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula and created a crater, known today as Chicxulub, about 150-180 miles (200 km) in diameter. The area at this time was covered by ocean. The asteroid was initially believed to have been 6-12 miles (10 km) in diameter. It left a thin layer of iridium in rock strata around the world. Evidence for this was gathered by Luis Alvarez. The asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs, about 80% of the world’s plants species and all animals bigger than a cat. In 2002 it also was estimated to have wiped out 55-60% of the plant-eating insects. A high oxygen level may have contributed to a worldwide firestorm. In 1997 Walter Alvarez published "T. Rex and the Crater of Doom," an account of this critical event. The impact was estimated at 5 billion times greater than the atomic bombs of WW II. In 2007 US and Czech researchers used computer simulations to calculate that there was a 90 percent probability that the collision of two asteroids in 160 Mil BC was the event that precipitated the Chicxulub disaster. In 2008 new research using an osmium isotope indicated that the responsible asteroid was about 2.5 miles wide. In 2013 scientists said this date was accurate to give or take 11,000 years.
    (SFC, 2/18/96, p.A3)(SFEC, 8/17/97, BR p.7)(NH, 9/97, p.85)(SFC, 2/25/02, p.A4)(WSJ, 3/2/04, p.B1)(Reuters, 9/5/07)(SFC, 4/12/08, p.A4)(SFC, 2/8/13, p.A1)

50000BC    Arizona’s Barringer Crater was created about this time by a meteor. Named after mining engineer Daniel Barringer, it measures 3/4 of a mile wide and 640 feet deep and is suspected to have resulted from a meteor of about 100 feet in diameter. An iron meteor 100 feet in diameter and weighing about 60,000 tons crashed into the desert at about 45,000 miles per hour near Winslow, Az. A crater 4,000 feet wide and 570 feet deep was created. 85% of it melted and the rest broke into bits called Canyon Diablo meteorites.
    (SFC, 7/2/99, p.A7)(

3000BC-2800BC    The Burckle Crater, an undersea crater, formed during this period by a very large scale comet or meteorite impact event. It is located to the east of Madagascar and west of Western Australia in the southern Indian ocean and is estimated to be about 30 km (18 mi) in diameter. In 2006 the Holocene Impact Working Group believed that it was created when a comet impacted in the ocean, and that enormous megatsunamis created the dune formations which later allowed the crater to be pin-pointed. As not only the Bible, but other ancient writings from various cultures make reference to a 'great flood', it is hypothesized that these legends are associated with this event.

36CE        Ancient Chinese records recorded an August meteor shower that was later assumed to be the Perseids. The meteorites originated when the Swift-Tuttle comet passed so close to the sun that its ice head melted and left a stream of pea-sized particles.
    (SFC, 8/11/99, p.A2)

66CE        Jan 26, The 5th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.
    (MC, 1/26/02)

141        Mar 20, The 6th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.
    (MC, 3/20/02)

607        Mar 13, The 12th recorded passage of Halley's Comet occurred.
    (HN, 3/13/98)

760        May 22, The 14th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred.
    (MC, 5/22/02)

837        Apr 13, Best view of Halley's Comet in 2000 years.
    (MC, 4/13/02)

1061        Apr 24, Halley's Comet inspired an English monk to predict that England would be destroyed.
    (MC, 4/24/02)

1066        Mar 23, The 18th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.
    (SS, 3/23/02)

1490-1491    Chinese, Japanese, and Korean astronomers reported a bright comet for 48 nights during the mid-winter weeks of these 2 years. An Italian astronomer again saw its sunlit debris in 1825 and it became known as the Quadrantid meteor shower. It was later cataloged as 2003EH_1. In 2003 it was related to a star explosion over 500 million earlier.
    (SFC, 12/31/03, p.A2)

1492        Nov 7, A meteorite landed in Ensisheim, Germany. Emperor Maximilian visited Ensisheim 15 days after the fall and ordered that the Ensisheim meteorite be preserved in the local church. A piece of the stone was put up for auction in 2007.
    (, 10/27/07, p.96)

1673        Jul 24, Edmund Halley entered Queen's College, Oxford, as an undergraduate.
    (MC, 7/24/02)

1676        Geminiamo Montanari, Italian astronomer, documented a meteor with a sound “like the rattling of a great Cart running over Stones." It was later understood that meteors can detectable generate radio waves.
    (NH, 7/02, p.38)

1679        Nov 3, A great panic occurred in Europe over the close approach of a comet.
    (MC, 11/3/01)

1682        Sep 4, English astronomer Edmund Halley saw his namesake comet.
    (MC, 9/4/01)

1794        Ernst Chladni, German scientist, proposed that meteorites were masses of iron-rich extraterrestrial rock, which occasionally penetrated the earth’s atmosphere to strike the surface.
    (ON, 7/02, p.5)

1801        Jan 1, Giuseppi Piazzi (d.1826), Italian astronomer, discovered an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. He believed it to be a planet and named it Ceres (goddess of the harvest).
    (NH, 7/02, p.36)

1802        Edward Howard, English chemist, determined that the iron in meteorites was a unique blend of iron and nickel that did not occur in known terrestrial rocks.
    (ON, 7/02, p.5)

1802        Heinrich Olbers, German astronomer, discovered an asteroid orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, He believed it to be a planet and named it Pallas after Pallas Athena (goddess of wisdom and war).
    (NH, 7/02, p.36)

1803        Apr 26, Villagers of L’Aigle, France, witnessed a meteor shower. The rocks helped to convince scientists that meteors were of extraterrestrial origin.
    (ON, 7/02, p.5)

1807        Dec 14, A number of meteorites fell onto Weston, Connecticut.
    (Econ, 12/23/06, p.122)

1811        Mar 25, A comet, dubbed the Great Comet of 1811, was discovered by Honoré Flaugergues at 2.7 AU from the sun in the now-defunct constellation of Argo Navis. In October 1811, at its brightest, it displayed an apparent magnitude of 0, with an easily visible coma.

1819        Jul 4, William Herschel made his last telescopic observation of an 1819 comet.
    (Maggio, 98)

1826        Jul 22, Giuseppe Piazzi (80), monk, mathematician (found 1st asteroid, 1801), died.
    (MC, 7/22/02)

1847        Oct 1, Maria Mitchell (29), American astronomer living on Nantucket Island, discovered a new comet that was named after herself. In 1848 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts, the first woman to be so honored. Frederick VI, the King of Denmark awarded her a gold medal for her discovery.
    (HN, 10/1/98)(ON, 2/07, p.9)

1848        Apr 25, A. Graham discovered asteroid #9: Metis.
    (SS, 4/25/02)

1857        Jun 27, H. Goldschmidt discovered asteroid #45, Eugenia.
    (SC, 6/27/02)

1858        Jun 2, Donati Comet was 1st seen and named after it's discoverer.
    (SC, 6/2/02)

1858        Sep 28, Donati's comet became the 1st to be photographed.
    (MC, 9/28/01)

1862        Jul 19, Horace Parnell Tuttle, an assistant at Harvard College Observatory, spotted a comet in the constellation of Camelopardalis. Following his announcement Lewis Swift of Marathon, NY, said he had seen the comet three days earlier. The comet came to be called the 109P Swift-Tuttle. In the 1970s British astronomer Brian Marsden (1937-2010) suggested that the comet had already been observed in 1737 and that it would return in 1992, which it did.
    (Econ, 12/4/10, p.111)

1864        A meteorite was found near Orgueil, France, that was later believed to be a fragment of a comet. It was later found to show traces of amino acids.
    (SFC, 12/19/01, p.A8)

1872        May 12, J.C. Watson discovered asteroid #121, Hermione.
    (SC, Internet, 5/12/97)

1884        Jun 27, J. Palisa discovered asteroid #237, Coelestina.
    (SC, 6/27/02)

1885        Aug 30, Some 13,000 meteors were seen in 1 hour near Andromeda.
    (MC, 8/30/01)

1885        Nov 26, The 1st photograph of a meteor was made.
    (MC, 11/26/01)

1890        Apr 25, J. Palisa discovered asteroids #291 Alice & #292 Ludovica.
    (SS, 4/25/02)

1891        Jun 11, A. Charlois discovered asteroid #311 Claudia.
    (SC, 6/11/02)

1894        A fireball was seen streaking across the skies of southern Nevada. 14 years alter a prospector found a 1.45 kg meteorite that was named the Quinn Canyon meteorite.

1901        Jun 7, M. Wolf discovered asteroid #471, Papagena.
    (SC, 6/7/02)

1892        Edwin Holmes discovered Comet 17P/Holmes. On Oct. 23, 2007, the comet, which had been visible to modern astronomers only with a telescope, suddenly erupted and expanded, possibly due to sinkholes in its nucleus.
    (AP, 11/4/07)

1906        Apr 25, J.H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #599: Luisa.
    (SS, 4/25/02)

1907        May 12, A. Kopff discovered asteroids #633, Zelima, and #634, Ute.
    (SC, Internet, 5/12/97)

1908        Jun 30, An explosion near the Tunguska River in Siberia incinerated some 300 sq. km. that encircled the impact of an estimated 60 meter diameter stony meteorite. It flattened some 40,000 trees over 900 sq. miles and caused damage equivalent to a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb. The explosion in Siberia, which knocked down trees in a 30-mile radius and struck people unconscious some 40 miles away, is believed by some scientists to be caused by a falling fragment from a meteorite.
    (NH, 9/97, p.85)(SFC, 3/12/98, p.A15)(HN, 6/30/98)(Econ, 12/23/06, p.123)

1909        May 13,  A. Kopff discovered asteroid #681, Gorgo.
    (SS, Internet, 5/13/97)

1910        Apr 19, After weeks of being viewed through telescopes, Halley's Comet was reported visible to the naked eye in Curacao.
    (AP, 4/19/00)

1910        Apr 21, Halley’s Comet was visible in the night sky. Entrepreneurs peddled "comet gas masks" for people worried about the Earth's passage through poisonous cyanogen gas in the comet's tail.
    (AP, 4/21/97)(SFEC, 10/3/99, p.B10)

1910        May 18, Passage of Earth through tail of Halley's Comet caused near-panic.
    (SC, 5/18/02)

1917        May 12, M. Wolf discovered asteroid #870, Manto.
    (SC, Internet, 5/12/97)

1929        Jun 11, G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1147 Stavropolis.
    (SC, 6/11/02)

1930        Jun 27, P. Parchomenko discovered asteroid #1166, Sakuntala.
    (SC, 6/27/02)

1931        May 13,  C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1194, Aletta.
    (SS, Internet, 5/13/97)

1932        Jun 11, E. Delporte discovered asteroid #1222 Tina.
    (SC, 6/11/02)

1934        May 13,  C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1320, Impala.
    (SS, Internet, 5/13/97)

1935        Jul 2, C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1357, Khama.
    (SC, 7/2/02)

1935        Jul 25, C. Jackson discovered asteroid #1641 Tana.
    (SC, 7/25/02)

1935        Jul 28, G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #1386 Storeria.
    (SC, 7/28/02)

1936        Jul 25, G. Neujmin discovered asteroid #3761.
    (SC, 7/25/02)

1937        Jul 2, C. Jackson discovered asteroids #1429, Pemba, & #1456, Saldanha.
    (SC, 7/2/02)

1937        An asteroid was discovered and named Hermes. It disappeared and was not seen again until 2003 and found to actually be a pair of objects traveling together.
    (SFC, 10/27/03, p.A4)

1938        Jun 24, A 500 ton meteorite landed near Pittsburgh.
    (MC, 6/24/02)

1938        Jul 28, K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1485 Isa.
    (SC, 7/28/02)

1944        May 17, D. du Toit (Harvard College Observatory, Boyden station, Bloemfontein, South Africa) discovered the comet, 66P/du Toit, on a photograph.

1947        Feb 12, A daytime fireball & meteorite fell and was seen in eastern Siberia.
    (MC, 2/12/02)

1949        Apr 25, E.L. Johnson discovered asteroid #1922: Zulu.
    (SS, 4/25/02)

1949        Jun 27, W. Baade discovered asteroid #1566, Icarus.
    (SC, 6/27/02)

1950        Jul 25, The Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroids #1799 Koussevitsky, #1822 Waterman & #2842.

1950        Astronomer Fred L. Whipple (1907-2004) proposed that comets consisted of ice with some rock mixed in. His theory was validated in 1986 with observations of Haley’s comet.
    (SFC, 9/1/04, p.B7)

1951        Jun 27, M. Itzigsohn discovered asteroid #1588, Descamisada.
    (SC, 6/27/02)

1951        Jul 25, L. Boyer discovered asteroid #1714 Sy.
    (SC, 7/25/02)

1952        Jul 25, Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #1788 Kiess.
    (SC, 7/25/02)

1954        Nov 30, A meteorite struck Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges of Alabama as she was sleeping on a couch. The space rock was a sulfide meteorite weighing 8.5 pounds and measuring seven inches in length. Mrs. Hodges was not permanently injured but suffered a nasty bruise along her hip and leg.  This was the 1st modern report of a Meteorite striking a human.
    (MC, 11/30/01)

1968        Jul 25, H. Wroblewski discovered asteroid #1993 Guacolda on exposures by G. Plouguin and I. Belyaiev at the University of Chile, Cerro El Roble Station.

1969        Feb 8, A meteor shower hit Mexico creating a luminance in the night sky as bright as day. A meteorite weighing over 1 ton fell in Chihuahua, Mexico.
    (TMP, KCTS-Video, 1987)(MC, 2/8/02)

1969        May 13,  Paul Wild, Swiss astronomer, discovered asteroid #1775, Zimmerwald.

1969        Sep 28, The Murchison Meteorite crashed into Australia. It was found to contain amino acids and frozen ice.
    (TMP, KCTS-Video, 1987)(

1971        Jun 27, T. Smirnova, Russian born astronomer, discovered asteroid #2121, Sevastopol.

1971        Cornelis van Houten (1920-2002), Dutch astronomer, discovered an asteroid and named it Asteroid 1877 Marsden after British astronomer Brian Marsden.
    (Econ, 12/4/10, p.111)

1972        Aug 10, A 1 million kg. heavy meteorite grazed the atmosphere above Canada.
    (MC, 8/10/02)

1973        Mar 7, Dr. Lubos Kohoutek, Czech astronomer, used a double exposure and discovered the comet Kohoutek then 370 million miles from earth.
    (NG, Aug., 1974, p.223)(

1973        Jul 4, Eleanor F. Helin, American astronomer, discovered asteroid #5496.

1974        Jul 25, T. Smirnova, Russian astronomer, discovered asteroid #2345 Fucik.
    ( b4w)

1976        Jan 7, Eleanor Helin of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. discovered the first near Earth asteroid which she named Aten. The orbits of these asteroids lie mostly inside that of the Earth and could at some date collide with the Earth.
    (SFC, 2/1/97, p.A8)(

1977        Feb 15, W. Sebok discovered asteroid #2491.

1978        Jan 6, The Wild-2 comet was discovered by Swiss astronomer Paul Wild.
    (SFC, 2/6/99, p.A8)(

1978        Jul 4, L.I. Chernykh (b.1935), Russian astronomer, discovered asteroids #3332, #6110 & #7730.

1978        Jul 28, Perth Observatory discovered asteroid #3188 and #3422.
    (SC, 7/28/02)

1979        Apr 25, N. Chernykh, Soviet-Russian, discovered asteroids #2656: Evenkia & #3653.

1979        Aug 30, The comet SOLWIND 1 first appeared on an image, at which time it was located 5.96 solar radii from the sun. It has been commonly presumed that the comet either hit the sun, or completely vaporized because of its near approach.

1980        Feb 15, Zdenka Vavrova, Czech astronomer discovered asteroid #3592.

1980        Jun 11, E. Bowell discovered asteroid #2531 Cambridge.

1981        Jul 2, L.E. Gonzalez discovered asteroid #3495, Colchagua, from the astronomical station of Cerro El Roble in Chile.

1982        Apr 25, E. Bowell discovered asteroids #2688: Halley, #3275: Oberndorfer & #3692.

1983        Feb 15, Norman Thomas discovered asteroid 3367 Alex, 3413 Andriana, 3525 Paul & 3580.

1983        Jun 7, A. Gilmore & P. Kilmartin discovered asteroid #3152.

1984        Jun 2, B.A. Skiff discovered asteroid #3617.

1985        Jul 2, The European Space Agency launched the Giotto space probe for a close-up of Halley’s Comet. It made its closest approach to the comet on March 13, 1986.
    (SFEC, 9/28/97, p.A14)(

1986        Feb 9, Halley's Comet reached 30th perihelion, its closest approach to Sun. 5 spacecraft from the USSR, Japan, and the European Community visited Comet Halley in early 1986.

1986        Mar 6, USSR's Vega 1 flew by Halley's Comet at 8,890 km.

1986        Mar 8, The Japanese probe Suisei passed 151,000 kilometers (95,000 miles) from the nucleus of Haley’s Comet.

1986        Apr 11, Halley's Comet made its closest approach to Earth this trip at 63 M km.

1986        Jul 4, E F Helin discovered asteroid #3855 Pasasymphonia.

1992        Jul 10, The European Space Agency photographed the nucleus of Haley’s Comet.
    (SFC, 10/2/07, p.A6)

1994        May 5, The peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. It displayed 10-40 meteors per hour.
    (PacDis, Spring/'94, p. 40)

1994        May 29, A great comet iceball was seen above the North Sea.
    (SC, 5/29/02)

1994        Jul 16, The first of 21 pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter. The comet was initially discovered by astronomer Eugene Shoemaker (d.1997 at 69).
    (HFA, '96, p.34)(SFC, 7/19/97, p.A21)(AP, 7/16/99)

1995        Jul 23, Two American amateur astronomers first reported the discovery of the comet bearing their names: Hale-Bopp. Reconstruction of the orbit indicated that the comet repeatedly enters the inner solar system every 3,000 years or so. It travels in an orbit perpendicular to the solar system in an elongated ellipse that is about 33 million miles from the sun at its farthest point. Its closest approach to Earth will be on Mar. 23, 1997. The nearest pass will be on Apr 1.
    (Nat. Hist., 3/96, p.55)(SFEC, 10/27/96, p.A17)

1996        Mar 26, The closest approach of the Hyakutake comet, first sighted Jan 31. It was to come within ten-million miles of the Earth.
    (Nat. Hist., 4/96, p.62)

1996        Apr 4, X-rays were found coming from the Hyakutake comet by a teams of US and German scientists.
    (SFC, 4/4/96, p.A-10)

1996        May 15, An asteroid about a third of a mile across was detected and enroute to miss Earth by only 279,000 miles on 5/19/96. Timothy Spar and Carl Hergenrother discovered the asteroid and named it 1996 JA-1. It was traveling at 10 miles per second on a 4-year orbit around the sun.
    (SFC, 5/19/96, p.A-2)

1996        May 19, In an astronomical near hit, a large asteroid approached Earth within 281,000 miles, a distance just greater than the moon, in a surprise to astronomers who discovered it in midweek.
    (DTnet, 5/19/97)

1997        Mar 4, Comet Hale-Bopp directly above the Sun (1.04 AU).
    (SC, 3/4/02)

1997        Mar 22, The Hale-Bopp comet made its closest approach to Earth at 122 million miles. On Apr 1 it will make its closest approach to the sun, perihelion, at some 85 miles distance.
    (SFC, 3/28/97, p.A12)

1998        Aug 19, Asteroid 1998 QE2 was discovered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) program near Socorro, New Mexico.

1999        Feb 7, The Stardust spacecraft lifted off aboard a Delta II rocket for its 7-year journey to gather particles from the Wild-2 comet.
    (SFC, 2/6/99, p.A8)(SFC, 7/18/05, p.A4)

2001        Sep 23, NASA reported that its Deep Space I craft took pictures of the comet Borrelly.
    (SFC, 9/24/01, p.B2)

2001        Oct, A one-day workshop on deflecting asteroids was held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The B612 Foundation formed soon thereafter to promote an asteroid defense system. B612 is the asteroid home of the Little Prince in Antoine de Saint-Exupery's child's story The Little Prince.
    (SFCM, 10/8/06, p.13)(

2001        cDec 26, A 1,000 asteroid dubbed 2001 YB5 was spotted approaching Earth. It passed within 400,000 miles of Earth on Jan 7.
    (SFC, 1/9/02, p.A11)

2002        Feb 1, Comet Ikeya-Zhang was discovered by 2 amateur astronomers in Japan and China. Its closest approach to Earth was projected for Apr 30. It last flew into the solar system nearly 350 years earlier.
    (SFC, 3/23/02, p.A3)

2002        Jun 3, NASA launched the $159 million Countour space probe to study the composition of comets. Scientists lost contact on Aug 15.
    (SFC, 8/16/02, p.A6)

2002        Oct 8, Astronomers reported a frozen object beyond Pluto some 800 miles across. They named it Quaoar, after a creation force in Southern California Indian mythology. The Asteroid 50000 Quaoar (2002LM60) was identified in the Kuiper Belt with the Hubble telescope.
    (ADN, 10/8/02, p.A4)(SFC, 12/30/02, p.A6)

2002        A group of scientists and former astronauts formed the B612 Foundation, named after the home asteroid of Saint Exupery’s little prince. Their goal was to develop a way to alter the coarse of an asteroid  that might be on a collision course with Earth.
    (Econ, 10/2/04, p.80)(Econ, 7/7/12, p.73)(

2003        May 9, Japan launched a rocket carrying the Muses-C probe, which planned to make contact with asteroid 1998 SF36 in June of 2005.
    (SFC, 5/10/03, p.A7)

2004        Jan 2, The NASA Stardust spacecraft took pictures of the Wild-2 comet tail and collected particles on "aerogel," a silica foam 99.8% air, the lightest material ever made.
    (SFC, 2/6/99, p.A8)(SSFC, 1/4/04, p.A8)

2004        Mar 2, The European Space Agency launched its Rosetta lander. It was intended to land on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in May, 2014.
    (SFC, 7/18/05, p.A4)

2004        Mar 18, A 100-foot diameter asteroid passed within 26,500 miles of Earth, the closest-ever brush on record by a space rock.
    (AP, 3/18/04)

2004        May 10, An asteroid identified as 2004JG6 was observed inside Earth’s orbit and traveling around the sun every 184 days.
    (SFC, 5/31/04, p.A4)

2004        Sep 29, The asteroid Toutatis, a few kilometers in diameter, came within 1½  million km. of Earth. It was 1st discovered in 1989.
    (Econ, 10/2/04, p.80)

2005        Jan 12, NASA launched its Deep Impact spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Fla. It was scheduled to launch an 820-poind impactor vehicle at Comet Tempel-1 on July 4.
    (WSJ, 1/13/05, p.D8)

2005        Jul 3, NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft collided with the comet Tempel 1, half the size of Manhattan, creating a brilliant cosmic smashup that capped a risky voyage to uncover the building blocks of life on Earth.
    (Reuters, 7/4/05)(SFC, 7/4/05, p.A1)

2005        Nov 12, Japan’s Hayabusa probe successfully released its Minerva surface-exploring robot, but Minerva appeared to start drifting away from the asteroid's surface. The space agency said it is targeting actual landings on the potato-shaped asteroid Itokawa on Nov. 19 and Nov. 25.
    (AP, 11/13/05)

2006        Jan 15, The NASA space capsule, Stardust, returned safely to Earth in a desert near Salt Lake City with the first dust ever fetched from a comet, a cosmic bounty that scientists hope will yield clues to how the solar system formed.
    (, 1/15/06)

2006        Aug 7, Robert McNaught of the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia made the 1st sighting of a comet that came to be called Comet McNaught.
    (Econ, 1/20/07, p.89)

2007        Sep 15, A meteorite made a fiery crash to Earth in southern Peru and villagers were soon struck by a mysterious illness.
    (AFP, 9/17/07)

2008        Sep 5, Rosetta, the European deep space probe launched in 2004, completed a flyby of the Steins asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
    (SFC, 9/7/08, p.A6)

2008        Nov 20, A meteor streaked across the sky of the Canadian Prairies producing a fire ball that shone brightly enough to be seen over an area 700 km (435 miles) wide. Searchers soon found the remains of the 10-ton meteor.
    (AP, 11/28/08)

2008        Dec 6, The Univ. of Hawaii activated the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (PS1) to search for dangerous asteroids.
    (Econ, 12/6/08, p.100)

2009        Mar 2, An asteroid named 2009 DD45, about the size of one that blasted Siberia a century ago, buzzed by Earth. It measured between 69 feet and 154 feet in diameter and came to 48,800 miles from Earth.
    (AP, 3/4/09)

2014        Aug 6, Scientists received a signal from the European launched Rosetta probe, launched in 2004 and scheduled to land in May 2014, that it was in orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
    (SFC, 7/18/05, p.A4)(Econ, 8/9/14, p.66)

2061        Jul 28, 31st recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet.
    (SC, 7/28/02)

2126        Aug 14, The comet Swift-Tuttle is due back in the inner solar system. The annual Perseid meteor shower is the train of debris from the comet.
    (SFC, 8/10/96, p.A19)(SFC, 8/11/99, p.A2)

2009        Oct 7, Pedro Elias Zadunaisky (b.1917), Argentine astronomer and mathematician, died. His calculations helped determine the orbit of Saturn's outermost moon, Phoebe, as well as Halley's Comet.
    (AP, 10/7/09)

2010        Apr 8, An asteroid, called 2010 GA6, flew within the orbit of the moon as it passed Earth at 7:06 p.m. EDT (2306 GMT). The relatively small space rock, about 71 feet (22m) wide was discovered by astronomers with the Catalina Sky Survey in Tucson, Az.

2010        Apr 15, President Barack Obama set a goal to visit an asteroid by 2025. Obama outlined NASA's new path during a visit to the Kennedy Space Center.
    (AP, 4/16/10)

2010        Apr 28, Scientists reported that infrared analysis of asteroid 24 Themis indicated that it contained evidence of water ice as well as organic compounds. Themis, a 120-mile wide asteroid, stood as one of the largest in the solar system.
    (SFC, 4/28/10, p.A6)

2010        Jun 13, Japan’s Hayabusa space probe, which scientists hope contains material from the surface of an asteroid returned to Earth, landed in the remote Australian outback following a 7-year journey.
    (AFP, 6/13/10)(SFC, 6/15/10, p.A2)

2010        Oct 11, President Obama signed a major NASA act that turns his vision for US space exploration of asteroids and Mars into law.

2011        Mar 3, Dr. Richard B. Hoover, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said he has found conclusive evidence of alien life, fossils of bacteria found in an extremely rare class of meteorite called CI1 carbonaceous chondrites. (There are only nine such meteorites on planet Earth.) His findings were published today in the Journal of Cosmology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Scientists inside and outside NASA distanced themselves from Hoover saying he does not have expertise in astrobiology.
    (, 3/8/11, p.A4)

2011        Jun 27, A rock, named asteroid 2011 MD, zoomed by just 7,500 miles (12,000 km) above Earth, making a sharp turn forced by gravity before winging off into space again. The flyby occurred at about 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT).
    (, 6/27/11)

2011        Jul 16, Dawn, a NASA spacecraft, went into orbit around Vesta, an asteroid in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. After a year it was expected to leave Vesta and head for the asteroid Ceres.
    (Econ, 7/16/11, p.81)

2011        Jul 19, NASA made available the first image of the asteroid Vesta shot from its Dawn spacecraft, 117 million miles from Earth.
    (SFC, 7/20/11, p.A7)

2011        Nov 8, A 1,300 foot-wide asteroid, known as 2005 YU55, passed within 201,700 miles of Earth. This was its closest approach in 200 years.
    (SFC, 11/9/11, p.A6)(Econ, 11/12/11, p.96)

2012        Apr 22, A meteor, dubbed the Sutter’s Mill Meteriote, exploded into fragments over northern California. It weighed barely 2 pounds and was apparently from a family of known asteroids named 495 Eulalia. 
    (SFC, 12/21/12, p.C9)

2013        Jan 3, Australian astronomers discovered a comet named C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring). Scientists said it will pass about 50km from Mars on October 19, 2014. On Oct 19 the comet’s closest approach to Mars was about 140,000 km.
    (Econ, 3/9/13, p.80)(Econ, 10/25/14, p.82)

2013        Feb 15, In Russia a meteor, estimated to be about 10 tons, streaked through the sky and exploded over the Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb. Its sonic blasts shattered countless windows and injured some 1200 people.
    (AP, 2/15/13)(AP, 2/16/13)
2013        Feb 15, The 150-foot Asteroid 2012 DA14 came within an incredible 17,150 miles to Earth, closer than many communication and weather satellites orbiting 22,300 miles up.
    (AP, 2/15/13)

2013        Mar 5, The Pan-STARRS comet passed within 100 million miles of Earth, its closest approach in its first-ever cruise through the inner solar system.
    (AP, 3/5/13)

2013        Mar 9, An asteroid as big as a city block shot relatively close by the Earth. Discovered just six days ago, the 460-foot long (140m) Asteroid 2013 ET passed about 600,000 miles from Earth.
    (Reuters, 3/9/13)

2013        Feb 15, The 150-foot Asteroid 2012 DA14 came within an incredible 17,150 miles to Earth, closer than many communication and weather satellites orbiting 22,300 miles up.
    (AP, 2/15/13)
2013        Feb 15, In Russia a meteor, estimated to be about 10 tons, streaked through the sky and exploded over Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains with the power of an atomic bomb. Its sonic blasts shattered countless windows and injured some 1200 people.
    (AP, 2/15/13)(AP, 2/16/13)(Econ, 2/23/13, p.78)

2880        Mar 16, The asteroid 1950 DA, 7/10 of a mile wide, was scheduled to pass within 250,000 miles of Earth and had a 1 in 300 chance of hitting Earth.
    (SFC, 4/5/02, p.A2)

2013        Nov 28, The comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), first spotted in April 2012 by Russian astronomers, made contact with the sun’s fiery corona. It was named after the Int’l. Scientific Optical Network. Astronomers were unsure if the comet survived.
    (SFC, 11/28/13, p.D2)(SFC, 11/29/13, p.A15)

2013        Nov 29, Images from spacecraft showed a light streak continuing past the sun indicating that at least part of comet ISON remained on one piece.
    (SFC, 11/30/13, p.A6)

2013        Dec 2, NASA said solar observatories saw something emerge from around the sun following the comet ISON’s close approach.
    (SFC, 12/3/13, p.A7)

2014        Aug 6, After a journey of 6.4 billion km (4 billion miles), Europe's unmanned Rosetta probe reached its destination, a milestone in mankind's first attempt to land a spacecraft on a comet.
    (AP, 8/6/14)

2014        Nov 12, Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft released its Philae lander toward the icy, dusty surface of a speeding comet. Rosetta was launched a decade ago to study the 4-km-wide (2.5-mile-wide) 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Philae came to rest in the shadow of a cliff, posing a potential problem for its solar panels.
    (AP, 11/12/14)(AP, 11/13/14)

2014        Nov 15, Batteries aboard the European Space Agency’s Philae comet lander drained, shutting down the washing machine-sized probe after an adventurous and largely unscripted 57-hour mission. Its last task was to reposition itself so that as the comet soars toward the sun, Philae’s batteries may recharge enough for a follow-on mission.
    (Reuters, 11/15/14)

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Subject = Comet, Asteroid, Astronomy
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