Take the 2-minute tour ×
Astronomy Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for astronomers and astrophysicists. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know that Halley's comet is seen from Earth every 76 years or so since a couple centuries. As it travels, and particularly when it comes near the sun, it loses some of its material (ice). Someday, all of this material will be exhausted and the comet will disappear (or explode I think).

Is there an estimation of how long the comet still have to live ?

share|improve this question
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

This paper estimates "another 2300 close perihelion passages". Multiplied with around 76 years per period, we get roughly 175,000 years. That's probably only a very rough estimate.

If we take the estimated mass of $2.2\cdot 10^{17}g$ and divide it naively by the estimated 1910 mass loss of $2.8\cdot 10^{14}g$, we get just 786 periods or roughly 60,000 years.

Hence, after about 200,000 years the remnant of Halley's comet will probably ressemble an asteroid, if any.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.