This simulation illustrates the changing orbit of Comet 209P (LINEAR) between the years AD 1700 and AD 2100. The comet's orbit is currently inclined at an angle of approximately 20 degrees to the Earth's orbit, and the omega symbols on its orbit indicate the ascending node and the descending node, which are the points where it crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit. To the left of View 2, the comet is above the plane of the Earth's orbit, and to the right of View 2, the comet is below the plane of the Earth's orbit.
In AD 1700, the points where the comet crossed the plane of the Earth's orbit were very far from the Earth's orbit. As time passes, the comet's orbit is significantly changed due mainly to the gravitational influence of the planet Jupiter, and as a consequence, the points where the comet crosses the plane of the Earth's orbit move significantly. By AD 1787, one of these points (the descending node) had moved very close to the Earth's orbit, and is visible below the Sun in View 2. It stayed in this position until AD 1845, when it moved away. In AD 2012, the descending node again moved very close to the Earth's orbit, and is visible below the centre of Monoceros in View 2. It will remain in this position until AD 2046. There is no possibility of a collision with the Earth, because the comet and the Earth always arrive at the comet's descending node on different dates.
Comet 209P (LINEAR) is the comet associated with the Camelopardalid meteor shower of 23rd/24th May 2014.
Since different computers run at different speeds, you may need to edit the evolution time step to get the simulation to run at an acceptable rate.
Copyright © 2005-2023, AstroGrav Astronomy Software