Comet Halley? She flew away, but promised to return ...

    So, the year 1985. A comet flies to us. I am a graduate student of the astronomy department of one of the universities. Themes of theses are already approved. I have the “Spectrum of Comet Halley” (lucky!), But even this is not the main thing - there is an opportunity to fly to Uzbekistan on Maidanak and bring this spectrum from there!

    For those who, for one reason or another, I hope, for good reason, forgot or did not find the year 1985: there is a fair amount of noise in the press about the comet. And there are good reasons for that - it is painfully famous:

    - visited our neighborhood many times and could not be unnoticed. It looked spectacular on other visits. In 1910, it looked not only spectacular, but at the same time the Earth passed through the tail of a comet on May 18. Given that by that time cyan had been discovered in the tail, Conan Doyle simply could not help but write “Poisoned Belt”. In the same year, by the way, and on the same day (which, generally speaking, it is no coincidence, as you understand), the comet passed through the disk of the Sun, which made it possible to determine the lower limit of its size (about 20 kilometers) and it turned out to be close to the true value. If by true we mean directly measured 76 years later, during the next visit.

    - past visits were recorded in the depths of centuries in various documentary sources (historical chronicles) and were reliably identified to certain time limits - it was she who later received the name of Halley. The first reliable observation of a comet dates back to 240 BC. e. and is described in Chinese Shi Ji chronicles.

    In this year (240 BC), a panicled star first appeared eastward; then it was visible northward. From May 24 to June 23, it was visible in a westerly direction ... A paniculate star was again visible in a westerly direction for 16 days.

    - this time an armada (Soviet “Vegas”, European “Giotto”, a few more) of spacecraft is sent to her and we, if nothing hinders, will see her near (presumably, we should see a dirty ice floe).
    (Looking a little ahead: we saw this in 1986. This is a photograph taken by the apparatus of one of the listed missions)

    - the first comet regarding which there is clarity: it is still a member of the solar system with a closed orbit, that is, it is periodic. Orbit and period determined by Halley not without the help of Newton. Subsequently, the next time it appeared in the vicinity of the Sun, everything was confirmed, but Halley did not live to see his triumph. It was rediscovered by the amateur astronomer Palic in 1758. Halley died in 1742. But the comet bears the name Halley quite deservedly.

    Well, forward to Majdanak. Naturally, I’m not going there myself. Several professional astronomers go to the observations. Well, I kind of like with them. I’m already meeting them in Uzbekistan in Kitaba - I arrived in Uzbekistan a day earlier.

    And here is the mountain. And next to another. There, neighbors dug in epaulettes with laser rangefinders, but about them a little later.

    The telescope on which we will work with a CCD matrix. Hmm, probably for those times it can be called "advanced". But trees and cars are still large, so the spectrum is reset to punched tape. My first disappointment is a glance at the guide. Fi-and-and-and-and, is it really that ?! Well, not at all impressive: a small muddy speck. Where's the tail, huh? (already November 1985, but there’s practically no way to see the tail in the guide)
    Well ... (Well, it looked something like this)

    A week on the mountain flies quickly. Home soon. Last morning. I collect little things, throw ribbons with spectra in my backpack. Getting lost is not possible - the road to the next slide is in the palm of your hand and the slide itself is in the palm of your hand. Well, something like this:

    In the photo - two towers - these are the same laser rangefinders.

    Stomp decently, more than an hour. Well, let's see how the neighbors are doing here, colleagues in some way (only their space is “military”). On a hill are a couple of towers with laser rangefinders. Outbuildings, barracks sort of. Helipad (a helicopter brings in and takes away those who do not sleep on the mountain, but fly here to work). Near the site, several soldiers idly loitered. My appearance does not arouse the slightest interest (and the object is somehow secure and terribly secret), which is natural - everyone seems to have long been accustomed to colleagues from the next slide. A spinner flies in, I jump into it. There are a couple more people in the helicopter. Take off In 30 minutes we will be on the “mainland”. Slip the flight sheet, sign up there. Under the screw a monotonous landscape.
    Yes, so a few words about the military Maydanak as promised. In case "some civilians" are not up to date.
    There were persistent rumors that during the next flight of the Challenger over Maydanak our fighters slashed with a laser - yes, it’s right on the glass of the cockpit where the imperialist adversary (shuttle crew) was sitting. And they caused the adversary a temporary health disorder. On the Web you can find echoes of those events.

    Back in 1984, the Soviets trained a laser on the Space Shuttle Challenger, which it believed to be an orbiting spy. The laser “caused malfunctions on the Space Shuttle and distress to the crew,” according to Jane's Intelligence Review.

    In 1984, the Soviets aimed their laser at the Challenger space shuttle, believing it to be an orbiting reconnaissance satellite. As reported in the Jane's Intelligence Review, the laser "caused problems on the space shuttle and crew ailment."

    Unfortunately, the Challenger dies in January 1986. This terrible tragedy touched the comet as well: in March 1986 the launch of the Challenger was planned with the launch of the ASTRO-1 platform for the study of comets into orbit.

    I don’t know how it is now on that “military” Maydanak. (in 1993, almost all the Russian military were not tempted by the offer of the Minister of Defense of Uzbekistan to join the armed forces of this country and were exported to Russia) and how popular and relevant are laser range-finding (if you google, then rangefinders are used in everyday life, but phase, and not pulsed). Well, whoever served there on the mountains - naturally, they are nostalgic with terrible force. What is called "fighters remember the past days ...". They do it on the forum

    Twice a year, when the Earth passes through dust and ice particles scattered and stretched in the orbit of the comet, earthlings observe meteor showers of Orionids and Aquariums. Now I’ll say something super pathos (please fasten your seat belts!): Perhaps this is a comet’s salute in honor of those who, unlike pigs, sometimes raise their eyes to the sky. But not only salutes - it streams a little antediluvian (well, very ancient, because it is presumably there the primary building material of the times of the origin of our planetary system was preserved) dust on their own heads - after all, the dust from meteor showers, as I understand it, settles sooner or later on sinful earth .

    You can read about the meteor shower here:

    And this is a simple illustration:

    Here, the author, in order to relieve himself of all responsibility for the success of observations of the meteor shower, is forced to officially declare:
    - the maximum of the stream is October 21, but the full moon today, October 18, 2013 is not entirely successful
    - the stream is not very active on its own: it’s too old an comet and the orbits of the Earth and comets almost do not intersect.

    Yes, so what about the comet, the meticulous Reader will ask. And he will be right. But the answer is simple.
    Well, you already understand, right? She flew away, but promised to return ...

    Yes, I almost forgot ... I have to
    thank the pleasant duty.
    I want to thank SamiKogogo - he invited me to Habr.
    I also want to thank SamKNOWLEDGE - these good Samaritans raised my status on Habré to such an extent that I was able to publish this material.
    Whoever is inspired by the topic and feels that the comet has become almost like a native to him, don’t be too lazy to read a detailed article on the Russian-speaking Wiki.

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