73P/Schwassmann–Wachmann

Author(s): Zemlyanin gradius_fanatic

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Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is a Jupiter-family comet that has been actively disintegrating since 1995. It is the parent body of the Tau Herculids meteor shower, where in May 31, 2022 was initially predicted to produce a potential meteor storm (about 1,000 meteors/hour) due to Earth passing by a dense cloud generated on the 1995 breakup, but actually only produced a modest amount. The comet was 2.2 km in diameter before disintegrating into 68 visible fragments as of 2022

NOTES:

  • Upon installing and restarting Celestia, the addon page's "Go" button will take you to the "calculated position" of the comet's original nucleus before the 1995 breakup. Therefore it is natural that you will not see anything at that location unless your time is set before December 15, 1995
  • There are about 68 large fragments of this comet included on this addon, which are arranged in alphabetical order (A to BT), including the pre-1995 nucleus

Comet 73P is normally a very dim 12th-magnitude comet, but in 1995, multiple outbursts that led to its disintegration brighten it up to 6th-magnitude!

Fragment B disintegrating in April 2006 as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope

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