Encke's comet(enk -kĕz) The most observed comet, having been seen at 55 apparitions. The comet has a period of 3.30 years – one of the shortest – and is thought to be the parent body of the Taurid meteoroid stream. The period of Encke is decreasing by up to 2.7 hours per orbital revolution. This is caused by a jet effect from its rotating nucleus, which is not thermally symmetrical. The brightness of Encke has hardly decreased during the 165 years of observation. Since the orbit of Encke is extremely well known and a considerable bank of scientific data has been established, Encke is one of the prime targets for a spacecraft investigation of a comet.
Collins Dictionary of Astronomy © Market House Books Ltd, 2006
Encke's Comet[′eŋ·kəz ′käm·ət]
A very faint comet with the shortest period of any known comet, 3.3 years.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.