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Comet
#1
Try to find a nice dark place on the 20th of this month.


Quote:APPROACHING COMET: Green comet 103P/Hartley 2 is approaching Earth for a close encounter on Oct. 20th. At that time, the comet will be only 11 million miles from Earth and should be dimly visible to the naked eye from dark sky sites. It already looks great through backyard telescopes:
[Image: rolando-ligustri1_strip.jpg]
Quote:Amateur astronomer Rolando Ligustri took this picture on Oct. 2nd using a 14-inch Global Rent-a-Scope in New Mexico. It shows Comet Hartley beside the spectacular Pacman Nebula (NGC 281), a star-forming cloud some ten thousand light years from Earth. "This is a very nice comet for telescopes and binoculars," says Martin Gembec who took a similar picture from his backyard observatory in the Czech Republic last night. "It has a [green atmosphere] almost 0.5 degrees wide and shines like a 7th magnitude star."
Two weeks after Comet Hartley has its close encounter with Earth, NASA will have a close encounter with the comet. The EPOXI spacecraft (formerly known as Deep Impact) is hurtling toward Comet Hartley now, and on Nov. 4th it will fly 435 miles from the comet's active icy nucleus. The encounter will mark only the fifth time in history that a spacecraft has been close enough to image a comet's core.
Until then, amateur astronomers can monitor the comet as it glides through the constellation Cassiopeia in the evening sky. A finder chart from Sky and Telescope shows the comet passing by a variety of stars and deep-sky objects, offering many photo-ops in the nights ahead.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
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#2
At first I thought there was more than one nebula, but the comet is coming directly at us, and will not display a tail.

It should be interesting to watch.
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#3
Coming...DIRECTLY...at us? Yikes!

Seriously, 11 million miles is not very far away. Of course, we have had closer near misses in recent years. One I think was only twice the distance of the moon.

If the comet's tail is directed exactly away from us, then that means the earth is in a straght line with the sun and the comet. That should change somewhat in the next 16 days. Maybe we will get to see a partial tail before then. Surely we will afterward.
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#4
Will we pass through the tail? cuz that would make for some awesome fireworks.
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#5
This is the sort of thing that leads to mass extinctions. Suppose it really didn't miss us by such a short distance? Can you imagine what this comet, traveling over twice the speed of an asteroid, would do if it plowed into the planet?

Talk about climate change. Remember, we live in the ultimate 'shooting gallery', and every once in awhile the shooters are right on target. S4
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#6
Oh most of us would die so fast it wouldn't hurt. No biggie.

I dunno about you but I'm much more scared of the dying process than of actually being dead.
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#7
John L Wrote:This is the sort of thing that leads to mass extinctions. Suppose it really didn't miss us by such a short distance? Can you imagine what this comet, traveling over twice the speed of an asteroid, would do if it plowed into the planet?

Talk about climate change. Remember, we live in the ultimate 'shooting gallery', and every once in awhile the shooters are right on target. S4
every 70 million years or so. that's scary indeed.
"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Dick Cheney
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#8
quadrat Wrote:
John L Wrote:This is the sort of thing that leads to mass extinctions. Suppose it really didn't miss us by such a short distance? Can you imagine what this comet, traveling over twice the speed of an asteroid, would do if it plowed into the planet?

Talk about climate change. Remember, we live in the ultimate 'shooting gallery', and every once in awhile the shooters are right on target. S4
every 70 million years or so. that's scary indeed.

Really? Where did you get that?

Actually the biggest cyclical comet bombardment theory is 31 million years give or take a million.
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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#9
Alright, lets start getting ready for Comet Ison, which should be a big deal in 2013:Coming in 2013: The Comet of the Century?. This should really be interesting, because if this comet is making its first trip around the sun, the debris it sheds should be really spectacular.

[Image: mc_naught34-580x386.jpg]

Quote:.......... there’s a reasonable chance that Earth is in for a celestial display just about a year from now. Comet ISON, discovered by two amateurs — one from Belarus, one from Russia — in September, shows early signs of being truly spectacular. At its brightest, in fact, ISON could put out as much light as the full Moon but concentrated into a smaller area — and if that turns out to be true, the term “dream comet,” now floating around the internet, would be an understatement.

There’s a legitimate possibility this might indeed be the real deal: for one thing, ISON (named for the International Scientific Optical Network, of which discoverers Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski members) was first seen when it was nearly 600 million miles (965 million km) from the Sun, well beyond the orbit of Jupiter. That’s unusually distant for a comet to be spotted: these interplanetary chunks of debris usually live in the frigid realms out beyond Neptune and are more or less invisible until solar heat begins boiling ice and dust from their surfaces, forming a light-reflecting halo (known technically as its coma), that makes them seem bigger than they really are.

The fact that ISON can already be seen means it may be reasonably large — perhaps a couple of miles across — which suggests that when it dips to less than a million miles (1.6 million km) above the Sun’s fires next November 28, it may be robust enough to avoid the breakup that often happens to smaller comets. And if it does survive, ISON could go on to light up the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere for much of December, 2013 and on into January.

If ISON is truly destined to become one of the greatest comets in history, we won’t have to wait until November to find out. By August, it will still be more than 200 million miles (320 million km) from the Sun, but that’s close enough for it to start forming its halo. How bright it is then should be a good indication of how much brighter it could get.

Even then, comet-lovers would be wise to stay calm. “Comets are like cats,” the great amateur astronomer and comet hunter David Levy, who has found 22 comets himself, has said. “They have tails, and they do precisely what they want.”

The 9 Most Brilliant Comets Ever Seen

[Image: Comet-Verschuier16803-400x319.jpg]
The Great Comet of 1680 over Rotterdam painted by Lieve Verschuier. Notice the lack of city lights. Some of the people are using cross-staffs to measure the comet’s altitude and tail length.
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"Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it" - Jonathan Swift, 1710
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