Comet Kohoutek was first seen from Earth in 1973 and may return 75,000 years later.This is a real photo of Comet "Kohoutek". This is not artwork from Journey, Stanley Mouse, or Anton Kelley;
|Comet Kohoutek, was first sighted on March 7, 1973 by Czech astronomer Luboš Kohoutek.|
It attained perihelion on December 28 that same year.
Here is the official NASA word on "Kohoutek";
Comet Kohoutek (1973 XII) was discovered by Lubos Kohoutek during a search for asteroid images on photographic plates taken in early March 1973 at the Hamburg Observatory, in the Federal Re-public of Germany. Calculations of its size and orbit showed it to be a large comet that would pass close to the Sun, reaching perihelion at the end of 1973.
This early discovery of a large comet in an orbit that would carry it close to the Sun prompted the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to initiate "Operation Kohoutek," a program to coordinate widespread observations of the comet from ground observatories, aircraft, balloons, rockets, unmanned satellites, and Skylab. This program was headed by Stephen P. Maran of the Goddard Space Flight Center. The third Skylab mission was rescheduled so as to make the best use of this opportunity-specifically to permit observations from Skylab during a period centered on perihelion. It is during this period that the most interesting and dramatic changes happen to comets, and it is also during this period that observations from the Earth's surface are hardest to make or even impossible because light from the nearby Sun is scattered by the Earth's atmosphere into instruments aimed at the comet.
Another factor making Comet Kohoutek an attractive subject for study was the fact that orbital calculations suggested it was a new comet-one that had never before passed close to the Sun and would therefore be expected to differ from comets that had periodically returned.
Here are a few examples of some Journey Artwork that resemble the photo of "Kohoutek";
|From the back of the Escape Tour Book|
|From the inside gatefold of "In The Beginnings"|
|From the back of the "Escape" album|
Trivia about Comet Kohoutek;
Because Comet Kohoutek fell far short of expectations, its name became synonymous with spectacular duds. However, it was fairly bright as comets go and put on a respectable show in the evenings shortly after perihelion.
In 1973, David Berg, founder of the Children of God, predicted that Comet Kohoutek foretold a colossal doomsday event in the United States in January 1974. Children of God members distributed Berg's message of doom across the country. The majority of U.S.-based members then fled in anticipation to existing communes, or formed new ones, around the world.
Before its close approach, Kohoutek was hyped by the media as the "comet of the century". However, Kohoutek's display was considered a let-down, possibly due to partial disintegration when the comet closely approached the Sun prior to its Earth flyby.
In the comic strip Peanuts, Snoopy and Woodstock hide under a blanket from a "strange light" in the sky in a story arc spanning 29 December 1973 through 3 January 1974. Linus eventually identifies the light as Kohoutek.
The rock band Journey wrote and recorded the instrumental "Kohoutek", which appeared on their self-titled debut album Journey in 1975.
"In Celebration of the Comet - The Coming of Kahoutek" is the title of a popular and widely circulated bootleg album from the band Pink Floyd. Recorded on February 17, 1972, the concert featured a musical piece referred to by the band as "Eclipse Suite," (later re-dubbed "The Dark Side of the Moon" when the band eventually recorded it as an album in the studio later that year).
Burl Ives recorded a single called "The Tail of the Comet Kohoutek / A Very Fine Lady" (1974, 7 in., 45 rpm, MCA 40175).
An article written in 1994 by Dave Barry;Remember Comet Kohoutek? It Was 1973 And The Astronomy Community Lost Face When It Failed To Deliver The Light Show Of The Millennium?
Gather 'round, young people, because it's back-to-school time, and Uncle Dave wants to give you some important advice to help you excel in the classroom and have successful, rewarding careers, assuming that the Earth is not destroyed by giant comet chunks.
This is definitely a possibility. Just recently, giant comet chunks whomped into Jupiter and caused destruction so massive that it would have wiped out all human life if there had been any, which there probably wasn't because the atmosphere on Jupiter has essentially the same chemical composition as Drano.
Of course the astronomy community carried on as though the mass destruction on Jupiter was just about the coolest scientific thing to happen since the invention of the pocket protector. Every night you'd see astronomers on the TV news, holding up blurred photographs of what appeared to be a pizza, pointing to a roundish smudge that appeared to be a pepperoni, and announcing, in happy voices, that it was the equivalent of 19 hillion-jillion atomic bombs.
They claim we don't have to worry. They claim that the mathematical odds of a large comet chunk hitting the Earth in our lifetimes are infinitesimal, even smaller - if such a thing is possible - than the odds of the Buffalo Bills winning a Super Bowl. But whenever we hear the astronomy community making claims, two words should spring into our minds: "Comet Kohoutek."
Back in 1973, the astronomy community claimed that Comet Kohoutek was going to pass close to the Earth and produce this spectacular celestial phenomenon, so big and bright you'd be able to see it EVEN IN THE DAYTIME. People were afraid to go outside for fear they would suffer comet burns.
And what happened? Nothing. All over the world, millions of people spent hours squinting at the sky, pointing excitedly at airplanes, moths, beer signs, smudges on their binocular lenses, etc. But ultimately they had to accept the ugly truth: There was no Comet Kohoutek.
Oh, sure, the astronomy community, desperate to save face, produced some blurred photographs of a "comet," but it turned out, upon close inspection, to be a human sperm cell magnified 400,000 times. (We now believe it belonged to Carl Sagan.)
My point is that if the astronomy community claims we're not going to get hit by giant comet chunks, then we probably are. The result would be mass destruction on the most horrendous scale ever seen in the history of this planet, causing famine, disease, death and - in the United States alone - literally millions of personal-injury lawsuits.