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Comet C/2012 S1 ISON: The Comet of the Century?

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Cheezy the Wiz, Apr 11, 2013.

?

Will people panic at the sight of such a mysterious object in the sky?

  1. Yes, and rightly so, the Vikings are coming!

    55.6%
  2. No, and wrongly so, the Vikings are coming!

    44.4%
  1. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    A comet from the Oort Cloud has entered the Solar System for the first time, and will pass Earth in November of this year with potentially spectacular results.

    http://www.space.com/19796-comet-ison-explained-infographic.html



    If this comet survives its very close pass to the Sun, when it swings around the other side it will come [safely] close to Earth with a very long tail, and would rival the full moon for brightness. It could take up a large portion of the night sky, and even be visible during the daytime during its perihelion, if one holds their hand in front of the Sun itself.

    Problem is, astronomers tracking the comet on its way toward the Sun are worried that it will be a dud, because it's not brightening as fast as expected, and thus may be shedding material a lot faster than they'd hoped.
     
  2. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Warlord

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    I am pumped for this pass, here's hoping it lives up to expectation.
     
  3. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    I hope for a chance to see it.
     
  4. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    I've been looking forward to this since I heard about it. If it lives up to its billing, I'll probably have to drive a few hours out of the city on a clear night. I remember Hale-Bopp when I was a kid but only ever saw it in the 'burbs.
     
  5. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Warlord

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    Hale-Bopp was the shiznit.
     
  6. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    I'm not going to get too worked up. Yet.

    I remember Halley is 1986. Just a faint little smudge on the pre-dawn horizon. Interesting? Mildly.
     
  7. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    Halley was actually in the worst position for viewing in centuries in 1986. It was on the far side of the sun and going away from us. This comet is going to swing back toward us and pass about as close to the Earth as the Venusian orbit. It's going to be a monster in the sky.
     
  8. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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  9. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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  10. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    :cool: that could prove to be a pretty good meet up, actually.

    Sadly, the house has no running running water in the winter, so there's that.
     
  11. Quackers

    Quackers The Frog

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    How big is this thing going to be in the sky?
     
  12. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    That's not yet certain. More observations are needed as this mass gets closer to the inner solar system before any sort of forecast can be made.

    From what I understand, we might have an idea in June or July!
     
  13. emzie

    emzie wicked witch of the North

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    wait, srsly?
     
  14. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    The largest estimates place it at stretching 1/6 of the night sky, but it may not be that spectacular.

    For perspective on big comets, this was Comet Lovejoy at its most impressive, back in 2011.

     
  15. Joecoolyo

    Joecoolyo 99% Lightspeed

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    What's with the green tint on the right? Is that just due to overexposure on part of the camera?
     
  16. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    It may be that, or some manifestation around what appears to be light pollution of some sort.
     
  17. Quackers

    Quackers The Frog

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    If the largest estimates hold, 1/6 of the night sky will be enormous, i can imagine people getting afraid with that size.
    That is an awesome picture by the way, i've never seen the nightsky like that.
     
  18. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

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    What I mean is, the tail could stretch 1/6 the distance from horizon to horizon, not that the whole comet will take up 1/6 of the entire sky. But again, that's uppermost estimates, and the way the comet is looking now (Hubble has its first images of the comet's tail) it's not behaving in the way that makes them expect those upper-escelon predictions. ISON may either be underwhelming, or may not even survive its close pass to the Sun.

    I don't imagine there are many great star-viewing spots in Britain. That one is from southern New Zealand.
     
  19. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    That image is almost certainly either a very long exposure (180 seconds) or a composite from several shorter ones. I suspect it's a single long exposure since the trees on the horizon aren't in sharp focus. With a composite, usually the photographer will choose one horizon slide to keep, and stack all the sky shots minus dark frames behind it.

    But since the trees are smudgy, I'm guessing the camera was tracking the sky as the earth rotated. Just a guess, though.
     
  20. peter grimes

    peter grimes ... Moderator

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    [YOUTUBE2]40wICUY5VmU[/YOUTUBE2]

    Video of the estimated orbital path. Longish, so just start watching at about 1:16 for a combined view.

    Currently 3.338 AU distant. Inside the orbit of Jupiter, but greatly inclined to the ecliptic.
     

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