Space: Halley's on View

Peeking from Pioneer 12

As Halley's comet began its swing around the far side of the sun in early January, it disappeared from view, not to be visible from earth again until after it emerged from the sun's glare in mid-February. Unfortunately for earthbound observers, it was during that unseen passage that Halley's put on its most dramatic display so far. As the comet neared its Feb. 9 perihelion, its closest approach to the sun (about 55 million miles), the searing solar rays caused increasing amounts of material to evaporate from its icy surface. Eventually the comet's enveloping gas cloud, or coma, grew to more...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!