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Comet ISON - The comet of the century?
Posted: 25 November 2013 06:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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From http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25052236

If we’re lucky, then in just a few days’ time we could witness one of the most spectacular sights in the night sky for a generation or more.

Comet Ison:

 
  * Discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok
  * A so-called “sungrazer”, it approaches our star at a distance of just 1.2 million km from the surface
  * Ison brushes past the Sun on 28 November; the heat at “perihelion” is expected to exceed 2,000C
  * The encounter could cause Ison to break up completely, but if it survives, the comet could put on a   bright display in the sky during December

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2012_S1

C/2012 S1 is expected to be brightest around the time it is closest to the Sun; however, it may be less than 1° from the Sun at its closest, making it difficult to see against the Sun’s glare. In December, C/2012 S1 will grow dimmer, but, assuming that it remains intact, it will be visible from both hemispheres of Earth, possibly with a long tail. C/2012 S1 will be well placed for observers in the northern hemisphere during mid to late December 2013. After perihelion, it will move north on the celestial sphere, passing within two degrees of Polaris on 8 January. Assuming it survives perihelion passage, ISON may be visible to the naked eye until early January 2014.

So, will there be spectacular cosmic fireworks after 28 November or will it break up completely?

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’ll believe it when I see it.  When I was about ten I read quite a bit about Haley’s comet and was determined to live to seventy so I’d see its return.  I made it to that, but what a disappointment.  Even with 8 power binoculars it was just another dim star.  I hope this one’s better.

Occam

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Posted: 25 November 2013 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Occam. - 25 November 2013 07:06 PM

I’ll believe it when I see it.  When I was about ten I read quite a bit about Haley’s comet and was determined to live to seventy so I’d see its return.  I made it to that, but what a disappointment.  Even with 8 power binoculars it was just another dim star.  I hope this one’s better.

Occam

Comets are always an unpredictable beast. If you were a hardy enough sole to hang around 70 years for Haley’s comet I’m sure you remember Comet Kahoutek. It was supposed to be the comet of the century in the 70’s when it was first seen out near Jupiter but it fizzled when it got in near the sun. On the other hand Comet Hyakutake was pretty spectacular in 1996. I remember standing on the high school athletic field with my 6 and 4 year old daughters to see it. It was a pretty spectacular text book comet with a wispy tail that extended twice the with of the moon and was easy to see with the unaided eye.

It just shows how unpredictable these objects are. It all comes down to their composition. They need enough volatile materials to produce a bright coma and tail and enough structural integrity to remain intact as those volatiles get vaporized and blown off into space. Hopefully this one will put on a good show.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Same with me. As a 10-year old boy I knew Halley would come in 1976, and I did not even see it. Great disappointment. As far as I remember the distance and angle were very bad from the earth to see it. And yes, Kohoutek was a great disappointment to. Comet West was the first comet I saw in my life. Hyakutake was very nice, its visibility was so great because it came along rather close to the earth. Hale-Bopp was gigantic, and it did not even come close to the earth. It came close to the eart-orbit, and it would have been spectacular if they would have been close together.

ISON now nearly disappears behind the sun, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens when it comes back into sight. (But why, in the cold season again… Frozen fingers while trying to make photographs…).

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Posted: 26 November 2013 05:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Same here also. Haley’s was a total bust in this area but we did get to see Hale-Bop for several weeks. There’s not a lot of ground clutter here and you can view the stars and planets quite clearly so the comet was very visible. I remember standing in our backyard looking at it, especially on a clear night which, unfortunately according to the Thanksgiving forecast we won’t have here. I’d really like to see Ison explode, if it does that is. That would be spectacular.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 07:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Ison could be spectacular after it rounds the Sun or it could fall apart and be nothing but a loose pile of rubble. We won’t know until next week. I’m hoping it is at least as good as Hyakutake. My wife, son and I drove to Tunnel View in Yosemite to see that one. We weren’t alone. If Ison is half as good as Hyakutake I’ll head out to Enchanted Rock between Fredericksburg and Johnson City for a few days and try to get some photos of it.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 08:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Just found this at Phil Plait’s blog: NASA Comet Ison Observing Campaign

Some great info there. It appears Ison may be breaking up, but it is too soon to tell. Even if Ison turns out to be a visual dud it will be a scientific boon. This is the first time we’ve been able to observe a comet in its first pass from the Oort Cloud, and we have Sun-observing satellites that will tack the comet as it turns. No matter what happens we’ll get a lot of excellent data from this comet.

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Posted: 26 November 2013 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Fantastic! That’s the first video of a comet I’ve ever seen. Also had no idea that there were two of them headed our way.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 29 November 2013 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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R.I.P. Ison?

http://www.space.com/23780-comet-ison-survival-sun-roasting.html

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Posted: 29 November 2013 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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From http://edition.cnn.com/2013/11/29/us/ison-comet/

Hold the obituary. Experts now think Comet ISON—or at least part of it—survived its close encounter with the sun.

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Posted: 29 November 2013 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thats why I put a question mark there

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Posted: 30 November 2013 04:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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macgyver - 29 November 2013 11:38 AM

Thats why I put a question mark there

Good news?

ison-survives_0.gif

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Posted: 30 November 2013 07:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Very nice video GdB.
So does this mean the comet is coming, or is it going to break up?

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Posted: 30 November 2013 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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VYAZMA - 30 November 2013 07:40 AM

So does this mean the comet is coming, or is it going to break up?

It has broken up, but at least there are some remnants big enough that they form a tail again. How much water and dust are left for a nice tail when it comes close to the earth is unknown. Look for it in the morning shortly before sunrise in the east the coming two weeks.

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Posted: 30 November 2013 08:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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GdB - 30 November 2013 07:59 AM
VYAZMA - 30 November 2013 07:40 AM

So does this mean the comet is coming, or is it going to break up?

It has broken up, but at least there are some remnants big enough that they form a tail again. How much water and dust are left for a nice tail when it comes close to the earth is unknown. Look for it in the morning shortly before sunrise in the east the coming two weeks.

Ok. I got my binoculars ready.

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Posted: 30 November 2013 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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VYAZMA - 30 November 2013 08:08 AM

Ok. I got my binoculars ready.

Perfect. BTW, 7x50 are the lightstrongest, so also the best for comets.

I’ll start to load the batteries of my camera…

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