In the ancient past, mankind has looked to Comets as an omen, sign, messenger or harbinger.
In 2014, we are still looking to the heavens for scientific discovery and knowledge. This year we will be graced with five passing comets giving Earthlings a reason to look up once again.
Comet Holmes, official designation: 17P/Holmes is a periodic comet in the Solar System, discovered by the British amateur astronomer Edwin Holmes on November 6, 1892. Although normally a very faint object, Holmes became notable during its October 2007 return when it temporarily brightened by a factor of about half a million, in what was the largest known outburst by a comet, and became visible to the naked eye. It also briefly became the largest object in the solar system, as its coma expanded to a diameter greater than that of the Sun.
Comet Holmes is expected to grace Earth with its pressence again making perihelion this March 27, 2014.
4P/Faye also known as Faye's Comet or Comet Faye is a periodic Jupiter-family comet discovered in November 1843 by Hervé Faye at the Royal Observatory in Paris. It will next come to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on May 29, 2014, when it is expected to reach about apparent magnitude 12.5.
The comet is estimated at about 3.5 km in diameter.
209P/LINEAR is a periodic comet discovered on February 3, 2004 by Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) using a 1.0-metre reflector. It was given the permanent number 209P on December 12, 2008.
Preliminary results by Esko Lyytinen and Peter Jenniskens predict 209P/LINEAR may cause the next big meteor shower which would come from the constellation Camelopardalis during May 2014. There may be 100 to 400 meteors per hour.All the trails from the comet from 1803 through 1924 may intersect Earths orbit during May 2014.
209P/LINEAR next comes to perihelion, closest approach to the Sun on May 6, 2014. On May 29, 2014, the comet will pass 0.0554 AU, 5,150,000 miles from the Earth,but is only expected to brighten to about apparent magnitude 11.
The fragmentation of Comet Brooks 2 is believed to have been caused by a close pass to Jupiter in 1886, when it passed .001 AU from Jupiter. The gravity of the planet tore the comet into fragments. The fragmented comet was observed for the first time, in recorded history, three years later on July 7, 1889.
Comet Brooks 2 is expected to make perihellion this June 7th 2014.
Comet Siding Spring will pass extremely close to Mars on 19 October 2014 at 11:30 a.m. PDT (18:30 UTC), so close that the coma may envelop Mars.