ContentThe Swift-Tuttle comet is the largest known object to repeatedly pass near Earth and is also one of the oldest known comets with sightings that span two millennia. This comet has made news in recent years for several reasons. The most concerning news came in the late 1990â€™s as scientists studying the comet realized that it is going to come uncomfortably close to Earth around July 11 2126, potentially colliding with our home planet. The other reason that the Swift-Tuttle comet is so popular is because it is the originator of the yearly Perseids meteor showers. It has a 133 year solar orbit and it is expected the comet will next pass the sun on July 11, 2126.
Scientists are able to calculate the path of millions of space objects, including comets. Experts agree that the next time Swift-Tuttle will come close to the sun is on July 11, 2126. But, if there is a slight error in the calculations of +15, or the comet changes itâ€™s orbit only minutely, it could collide with Earth around August 14 2126. The odds of a collision are very slim, but Earth does pass through the cometâ€™s orbit.
Swift-Tuttle cometâ€™s scientific name is Comet 109P. It got its real name from two gentlemen who discovered the comet two weeks apart, without realizing it. On July 16, 1862, Lewis Swift found this comet in the Camelopardalis constellation. He reported that is was a bright telescopic object, but assumed he was looking at the Schmidt comet and did not report this sighting. On July 19, 1862, Horace Parnell Tuttle spotted Comet 109P and made a note that it was heading north. Tuttle made an official announcement and when Swift heard, he realized it was the same comet he viewed and made an announcement. As a result, both men are given credit for the discovery of the Swift-Tuttle comet.