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Comet Lulin Is Moving Closer To Earth

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the space-sparkles dept.

Space 97

goran72 writes "The comet is swinging around the Sun and approaching the Earth. The photogenic Lulin has a bright tail and an 'anti-tail.' At its closest approach in February, Comet Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility, reaching a magnitude of six."

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Magnitude of six... what (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416059)

I'm sorry, it could definitely be that my morning brain isn't functioning properly. But in the following sentence:

At its closest approach in February, Comet Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility, reaching a magnitude of six."

Six... what?

Re:Magnitude of six... what (5, Informative)

d3m0nCr4t (869332) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416087)

Re:Magnitude of six... what (3, Informative)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416135)

Ahh OK, not being familiar with apparent magnitude I was looking for some sort of unit to search for. Now I see.

For those interested in the brightness of the comet, it will be somewhere between the Uranus (at its brightest) and the faintest stars visible to the naked eye.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26417617)

(...) somewhere between the Uranus (...)

I just got an unpleasant flashback to seeing a picture of the goatse man...

Re:Magnitude of six... what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26420081)

It's still amazing to me that people have not grasped the concept of a search engine. #2 on Google.

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=magnitude+of+six [lmgtfy.com]

Re:Magnitude of six... what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26424761)

Well... to be fair, that really isn't a good thing to Google, because it's a specific measurement. You wouldn't Google "twenty-two inches" to figure out what an inch is. In fact, it is just pure luck that the relevant Wikipedia page came up, due to the presence of "Thirty-six" elsewhere in the document.

A better search would be "comet magnitude" ... the FIRST result is the relevant one there.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420341)

Six is already pretty bright for a comet. It would be too faint to be a spectacular event for the naked eyes, but with telescopes and cameras it will make nice pics, even they're amateur equipments.

However, predicting the magnitude of a comet is a bit difficult. There are numerous precedents of comets failing our expectations and there are also some giving us surprises. Let's just wait and see :)

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

jgoemat (565882) | more than 5 years ago | (#26421893)

Magnitude 6 will not be visible by most people in cities without binoculars...

Re:Magnitude of six... what (2, Informative)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416123)

"Apparent magnitude" is the measure for brightness that astronomers use. Read more here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_magnitude [wikipedia.org] The magnitude 6 means (according to wikipedia) it's between the brightness of the faintest stars observable with the naked eye and the planet Uranus. The measure has no SI units like joules, meters or something like that. It's a relative scale.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (2, Funny)

Igarden2 (916096) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416717)

But mine goes to 11.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417519)

You mean -11 otherwise we are going to need to see you with a telescope.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420323)

-11? He's mooning the Earth?

Writing an effective troll in our web 2.0 world (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416173)

In the War against well formed and insightful posts that are on topic, there needs to be trolls and pieces of flamebait that must fight back. I have noticed that the quality of trolls have started going down, which has resulted in the following:

- Less of otherwise intelligent people responding to these trolls making themselves look stupid
- Less people getting innocently marked as Offtopic or Troll by being provoked by comments
- A decline in the amount of funny off-color joke material marked down

With a new type of web there needs to be a better quality of troll. I want to propose that we work in random chaos to achieve some sort of super troll. We need to not only counter-balance the well thought out comments of well adjusted members of society, but we need to go above and beyond. We need to make users of Slashdot, and especially paying subscribers, so sick of slashdot that they threaten to leave the site.

Now we have the site owners incompetence to our advantage. With the slow and nearly unusable state of their random javascript and their obnoxious flash ads, I think Commander Taco might be siding with us trolls for a change. We need to go to each and every news story and we need to piss a lot of people off. Here are some guidelines for our war against intelligence and common sense:

- A troll about African Americans (recommended to call them niggers) raping white men (Women can work too but white men rape is funnier)

- Attack a programmer by taunting and making fun of whatever language they may be using. On Slashdot it may be some variation of C or C++ so just attack and totally deconstruct their language as nothing more and dog turds in penis factory.

- Attacking Apple is always a great way to provoke Slashdotters who have invested in a Mac. Taunting should go into attacking the company, its users, or Steve Jobs. A jab about Starbucks is recommended

- Some sort of jab against Jews always works. Make sure to make work cited by Adolf Hitroll.

- The sky is usually the limit.

Borrowing and modifying old trolls are also acceptable as there is no copyright on these trolls. Honestly, what maladjusted basement dweller is going to take credit for half the shit on this site, troll or not. Make sure to get the point across by pasting multiple copies of your troll in each successive story.

Most importantly try to keep it original and offensive. If you can get at least one person angry or even to leave slashdot for a while you have done your job of dismantling the web one user at a time. Take for example, the slashdot user AlexPKeatonInDa. He probably hung himself because of all the troll chasing happening to him. I also consider KFG another victory as I believe the excessive trolls gave him terminal colon cancer. So now go out there and start writing and posting the most offensive noise your brain can shit out.

Re:Writing an effective troll in our web 2.0 world (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26419301)

Only a nigger would write something this obviously fanboyish about trolling. Do you have an overpriced Macbook, too? The only good thing about your post is that it is properly structured and readable. You get +1 there.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416391)

Let me Google that for you [letmegoogl...foryou.com] .

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

martinw89 (1229324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26428989)

Except, I didn't know anything about apparent magnitude, so I had no idea to search for "comet magnitude." Smartass :)

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416487)

Magnitude six would mean it will be slightly less noticeable than Uranus.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416663)

... that is simply too obvious so I won't exploit it. But come on!!! Every [mental] 6th grader out there is catching this one! Change the relative measurement!

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

azenpunk (1080949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429167)

what i caught onto was you promising not to exploit uranus because people might notice.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416489)

My comet goes to 11!!!!

Re:Magnitude of six... what (4, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417049)

Six... what?

You have to read between the lines.

They've already told you about the tail and the anti-tail. Right there you should think:

"Anti tail? what are they talking about? ... Oh, teh opposite of a tail ... A tail on the opposite side. ... hmmm ... ... Ahh, hehe, yeah, anti-tail, hehe, clever ... ... hmm I wonder if mine is bigger..."

And right there you get the answer. "It has a magnitude of 6". So, the answer to your original question is, clearly, "Inches".

You're welcome.

Re:Magnitude of six... what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26417441)

"...Lulin is expected to brighten to naked-eye visibility, reaching a magnitude of six."

I wish my girlfriend could see my Lulin anti-tail at 6". She would enjoy that more.

Six? Big deal... (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420145)

My comet goes all the way up to eleven.

Re:Six? Big deal... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429347)

Except that in this context, eleven is decidedly worse than six. Unless you prefer your metaphorical comets to be less visible, that is...

Re:Magnitude of six... what (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420193)

I don't know about you, but my eyes can't repel comet power of _that_ magnitude!

My eyes... (2, Funny)

pondermaster (1445839) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416085)

...are always naked.
Where's this pesky eyeware shop they're talking about?

Re:My eyes... (1)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416235)

You may be looking for the shop that sells pairs of glasses.

Re:My eyes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26416435)

"My eyes are always naked." Pervert!!!!!!

Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416091)

unless you live in the very darkest regions, utterly devoid of streetlighting.

I really wish people wouldn't talk up comets. They almost never live up to the hype - partly because the commentators are either hopelessly optimistic or over-enthusiastic. Then when the "average" person sticks their head out at night - hoping to see something spectacular, they are gravely disappointed.

This kind of thing damages the scientific credibility as a whole and turns people off the idea of beleiving scientists: "remember that comet they told us about - what a bust that was, I guess name of global catastrophe is the same - waste of time".

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

zwekiel (1445761) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416319)

Yeah, he's right. To see a magnitude 6 object, you would need either binoculars, or to be in an area where there is no artificial light.

So, us city folk are out of life.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416671)

I'm pretty sure I'm full of life, thank you very much.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416537)

unless you live in the very darkest regions, utterly devoid of streetlighting.

Or you have a shotgun and know where the local transformers are located.....

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (2, Interesting)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416799)

I'd laugh, but its not as funny knowing you'd have to black out the entire city in order to get rid of the light pollution.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416859)

Or you have a shotgun and know where the local transformers are located.....

That makes me think of Homer shooting the kitchen lights off. With a bit more ingenuity, you could find the switch.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (4, Funny)

biocute (936687) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417067)

local transformers are located

Then what? One of them transforms into a telescope when you threaten it with the shotgun?

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26419665)

Then what? One of them transforms into a telescope when you threaten it with the shotgun?

Well, Perceptor might if you aimed at his.... cripes, I can't believe I have a girlfriend.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

Webs 101 (798265) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416919)

According to a poster above, Mag 6 is about as visible as Uranus - so if you pull your head out of your ass, you should be able to see it.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416949)

Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible . . . unless you live in the very darkest regions, utterly devoid of streetlighting.

So basically, it's not, unless it is.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

ChoboMog (917656) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416975)

I don't see how one's disappointment with a predicted astronomical event (comet, eclipse, meteor shower etc) would damage the scientific credibility. Maybe if they popped their head outside, saw nothing, and then heard the news the next day that someone had messed up a calculation (or mistakenly used Metric/Imperial units in the wrong place [nasa.gov] ) and the event never took place...That would bring credibility into question. At worst, a lackluster show by a comet, or during an eclipse/meteor shower, would lead to a bit more apathy towards science and the universe. However, that apathy will die quickly the next time something really cool, like the Aurorae or a meteor, lights up the night sky. ^_^

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (3, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417345)

"[Comets] almost never live up to the hype"

I've been looking at the sky for comets since around the time of the moon landings, Hayley's comet was a big dissapointment even though I was living in the bush at the time and had near perfect skies. However a couple of years ago when a I got break in a week of cloudy sky I saw Comet McNaght at it's peak brightness looking very much like this [nasa.gov] to (an old fart's) naked eye, from a beachside suburb in the glow of a major city! After 40yrs of looking at the sky I finally saw a comet in all it's awsome glory, but by that time comets were no longer the reason I habitually enjoyed "sticking my head out at night".

This kind of thing damages the scientific credibility as a whole and turns people off the idea of beleiving scientists: "remember that comet they told us about - what a bust that was, I guess name of global catastrophe is the same - waste of time".

Slightly offtopic but I don't agree, the only reason to belive scientists has got nothing to do with the scientists theselves. How many posts do we see on slashdot following the religious right's "unthinking is a virtue" philosophy when it comes to a political rant against the IPCC, they ranters fail to even read, let alone falsify the assertions contained within it's reports. And to add insult to injury these type of anti-science rants are often modded insightfull by what is supposed to be a bunch of nerds. I agree with Dawkins and Sagan that the "unthinking is a virtue" philosophy is our worst enemy but scientists are the last group of people I would blame for it's popularity.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

Alomex (148003) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418595)

A while back we found ourselves in a small island in the middle of nowhere. It was remarkable how much brighter it is compared to the rest of the sky. Since I'm usually never more than 100 km away from a really large metropolis, I'd forgotten what an amazing sight it is.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418849)

Somehow, through editing the original post, the words "milky way" ended up not appearing in the post at all....

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (2, Funny)

mowall (865642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420265)

Somehow, through editing the original post, the words "milky way" ended up not appearing in the post at all....

They are there, just not visible to the naked eye.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (3, Interesting)

agrounds (227704) | more than 5 years ago | (#26421869)

Having spent the entirety of my childhood in Houston, I always had an interest in astronomy and had a decently mounted catadioptric refractor that I used quite a bit to see/sketch the moon but the city glow makes the entire night sky bright orange. Stars and planets were pretty much off the menu except right after cold fronts in the winter, when I would sit outside for hours with a chart and try to track down all the stars I could find. It was never very many though, but it was exciting.

I went on an extended hiking and camping trip to the White Mountains in Colorado when I was 14 and on a whim decided to lug my scope with me strapped to the bottom of my pack. It was heavy and more of a burden than I thought it would be, but the very first evening we set camp at ~9,000 feet. After a trout dinner and some relaxing, the sun went down and slowly but surely the night sky began to appear. It was as close to a religious experience as I have ever had. I didn't sleep that night even though I had hiked for hours the previous day and was still trying to come to terms with "non-sea-level" atmospheric pressure.

Since then, I have seen the sky from many other vantage points with equally impressive vistas, but I still look back on that trip fondly. It was the first time I felt truly humbled and how insignificant we all are in the universe.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429771)

"It was as close to a religious experience as I have ever had."

My lady friend is a moderate Christian and was in her late thirties when I met her. Although she had occasionally been under them she had never looked up at a dark sky, she also belived I could not "know" the feeling of religious awe because...well...I am not religions. When I showed her a dark sky and described our physical place in the milky way she was gob-smacked and she knew that I knew. We were also lucky enough to spot about a dozen leonoids over a few hours.

There were a few dozen people on the beach in 2007 but she is the only person I know in Melbourne who saw McNaught that night. Some of my friends/family saw a much dimmer version about a week later but most people belive it was "another over-hyped dissapointment" (as the OP puts it).

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 5 years ago | (#26440431)

I'm up at about 7000 feet, about 6 miles outside of Durango, CO, which is a pretty small town. Even with a streetlight and a couple of porch lights in our little cul-de-sac, I can still see the milky way on any night that's not cloudy. It's lovely, truly. The only problem for the comet watching is going to be the "low" part -- too many trees on all sides to get a good view of anything not high in the sky.

Re:Mag 6 is *not* naked eye visible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26423143)

This is because people are spoiled by the Hollywood version of what a comet should look like. It's supposed to be huge, world-swallowing, and maybe even Cometine Empire-like. It should perhaps even have it's own ominous sound.

But of course they're not. They're just kinda, there. Silent and wispy like cobwebs up in the corner of the room we never leave.

I don't mind that comets aren't Hollywood and aren't like Micheal Bay's version of what a comet would be like. But it's sort of sad that aren't even like the comets of history which were supposed to be harbingers of good or bad or whatever. It's freaking hard to look at a comet nowawdays and think that the fate of nations were once influenced by such ephemeral "Can you see it? I can't." things.

I hope the machines don't come alive...... (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416093)

Reference [imdb.com] for those too young to remember it ;)

I'll make a mental note to stay away from 18 wheelers for the next few weeks :P

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416563)

18 wheelers = instant death...I would worry about those damn lawnmowers and electric kitchen knives....they would hurt more. Oh yeah...and avoid vending machines too. This of the pain that a rogue bag of corn chips or a pack of Ho-Ho's might cause!

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417111)

Oh yeah...and avoid vending machines too

Especially this one [m5industries.com] ;)

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420811)

Oh yeah...and avoid vending machines too. This of the pain that a rogue bag of corn chips or a pack of Ho-Ho's might cause!

Your tone seems too glib seeing that the vending machine mowed down a Little League team with a salvo of soda cans...

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

belligerent0001 (966585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26421235)

I figure that once you are dead from a Mt.Dew to the forehead the pain will stop pretty sudden like. Getting pelted with bag after bag of Doritos on the other hand could leave some serious cuts....and even worse, if one of those bags busts open the salty Doritoey goodness will burn like hell! No thanks man...I will take the Mt.Dew to the head any day....get it all over nice and quick!

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

ShadowBlasko (597519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26422453)

I really wanted to see a bowling ball return in that scene somewhere.

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418495)

Thanks for reminding me of that movie. And that I'll never ever be able to un-watch it.

Jerk.

Re:I hope the machines don't come alive...... (1)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418673)

I'd be more worried about the Triffids.

You donÂt say... (1)

dj015 (680676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416233)

From TFA "Astronomers at the Taipei Astronomical Museum said the tail of Lulin would be most visible during the time it moves closest to the Earth."

Re:You donÂt say... (2, Interesting)

Igarden2 (916096) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416921)

Sometimes comets are not 'most visible' when closest to the earth. I believe it depends also on how much the 'tail' has developed (usually a function of proximity to the sun) and it's apparent position relative to day and night in our sky. Comets just don't appear as bright in our day sky as in the night sky. FYI, there have been some spectacular comets clearly visible in the daytime.

Oh Hai (4, Funny)

bigdaddyhame (623739) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416265)

I hope this doesn't set off a lulcomets meme or somethin'

(comet pic)
OH HAI JUZ PASSIN THRU KTHXBYE

I'm lulin'

Re:Oh Hai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418491)

Since when did 'meme' become 'talk in a kiddie language'? HAHA JUS PASSIN THRU LIKE A COMET HAHA

Re:Oh Hai (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429367)

Since Caturday got boingboinged into Lolcats. And I can't believe that sentence makes any sense.

Comet viewing can be incredible... (5, Interesting)

fractalrock (662410) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416327)

I was in the Navy, out at sea (probably Atlantic) when Hale-Bopp was visible. [wikipedia.org]

A few of the guys I worked with would venture out on deck at night, usually to sip whiskey or stargaze, or talk about how much we hated the Nav. Anyway, I've seen comets before so when a buddy said 'you should really come outside and see the comet' I was thinking 'meh...'

When I stepped outside, I initially thought the moon was out it was so bright on deck. I look up at the sky and almost fell down (seriously...had to catch myself). The comet was so bright and beautiful it damn near took my breath away. It stretched 3/4 of the way across the visible sky; looking like some kind of cosmic jewel.

I got to see a lot of interesting things while serving, but the comet was a definite highlight.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

laejoh (648921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416373)

I can hear a song coming up!

IN THE NAVY

Where can you find pleasure, search the world for treasure,

learn science, technology?

Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true

on the land or on the sea?

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (2, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416485)

I'd like to get out to sea someday just to see the sky without light pollution. Your story isn't the first one I've heard that makes me jealous I've never made it. The closest you can come on land is probably the Australian Outback. Every year I've tried to get up to the Adirondacks for the same reason and every time I've made it we've had full cloud cover :(

In my area it's not as bad -- you can actually drive 15 minutes and escape the worst of the city lights -- but it's still not the same as being out in the real boonies or out to sea. I feel real bad for the city dwellers that have never even seen the Milky Way or more than a handful of stars.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

ZekoMal (1404259) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416767)

Man, I should set up a little camp in my front yard.

The closest man made light you can see is our neighbor's lights inside their house. Otherwise, on a clear night, you can see every star available to us.

Hopefully we don't have 6 feet of snow on this day, of course.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418677)

I'd like to get out to sea someday just to see the sky without light pollution. Your story isn't the first one I've heard that makes me jealous I've never made it. The closest you can come on land is probably the Australian Outback.

My first trip to the Outback, we were traveling at night. We pulled the car off the road, turned out the lights and got out to look at the sky.

The view was so breathtaking, my legs got a wobbly.

Not only was it massively full of stuff I normally can't see, it was completely alien to my Northern Hemisphere-centric eyes. All of my normal star guideposts were either missing or not where they should've been. Completely disorienting--like being on another planet--but ultimately cool.

If you can afford it, I highly recommend a trip to Oz. The night skies are just one of the many highlights.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420293)

Likewise the western desert is amazing, both on the far side of Death Valley from Vegas as well as about halfway between Vegas and the North Rim. The scenery there is great during the day and at night you get some of the best views of the night sky possible due to extremely low moisture and the lack of any human activity.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429599)

The closest you can come on land is probably the Australian Outback

I think this image [rotboel.com] reveals other places you could go.

I imagine parts of Africa in the Sahara, Nunavut (Canada), Northcentral Russia, Western China, all of Antarctica, and a couple of the -stans would also afford you a nice view. And at least one of those locations is politically friendly to practically everyone, so vacationing wouldn't be a problem for that reason!

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26421415)

'I was in the Navy, out at sea (probably Atlantic) ...'

So, you were a navigator?

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

fractalrock (662410) | more than 5 years ago | (#26422277)

Heheh...well, actually I was a nuclear operator [wikipedia.org] .

The strange thing is, the nukes (guys stuck deepest in the ship) were the only ones who would go outside at night to look around...

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26421557)

What about those of us who served in submarines, you insensitive clod! Just kidding. I wish I had seen it that way. I saw from up in the Cascades in Oregon and took a decent (not good) long exposure photograph of it.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

niktemadur (793971) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430267)

By far, Hale-Bopp has been the absolute highlight of my comet-watching experience.

There's a thought that's haunted me since I read the Nemesis theory, that a brown dwarf companion to the sun (that would be Nemesis) swings in and out of the Oort Cloud in the course of its' highly elliptical orbit, sending a swarm of comets hurtling into the inner Solar System every time it swings towards us. This goes a long way in explaining the apparent regularity of mass extinctions on Earth.

Anyway, picture a sky with dozens of comets all at once. Spectacular? Unimaginably so. The scariest thing ever seen by any living being in Earth's history? That, too. For a few years, they'll just keep on coming, and one of those babies is on a collision course with Earth, sooner rather than later.

Now what would an ELE (Extinction Level Event) caliber comet look like when it's at Moon distance? Visualize the coma filling the sky, enjoy the magnificence of the sight, and BTW, the doomsday clock is just an instant away from midnight for your species. May I suggest a bottle of Laphroaigh that night? Oh, screw it, better pull out all the stops and go for the Caol Ila 25 Year Old.

Yeah it's a morbid thought, but if the cometary extinction theory is correct, as well as the Nemesis one, that is exactly how the skies have looked like in the past, on a regular basis, and will look like again, over and over. Unless, of course, we as a species leave the cradle and embark on a project in the far future to sweep the Oort Cloud clean, and the Kuiper Belt too, for that matter. Maybe the Obama administration can look into the matter? (grins) And please, leave a couple of comets in safe orbits out there, if only for show.

Re:Comet viewing can be incredible... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26435715)

I saw Hale-Bopp while driving in a very dark part of the country. For most of my trip, the comet happened to be in my peripheral view, which, once I got used to it, turned out to be a good way to see it. It really was amazing, but nothing to base a doomsday cult [wikipedia.org] on.

Fair Warning from cartoons... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416363)

From the Thundarr the Barbarian cartoon...as a warning...

The year: 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man's civilization is cast in ruin! BE PREPARED!

Re:Fair Warning from cartoons... (1)

Digital_Mercenary (136288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417811)

Damn Man! I used to luv that show.....
memories....wow

Re:Fair Warning from cartoons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26421079)

It's "love".

"English", motherfucker... do you speak it?

Re:Fair Warning from cartoons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26424027)

I thought it increased the ability of those with fire powers to near invincibility. So keep an eye out on all those pyro-freaks out there. ...Oh wait, that's Comet Sozin. Nevermind.

Punch anyone? (1)

MaxwellEdison (1368785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416411)

Bah! Magnitude 6? We'll never be able to see the spaceship following in its tail then. Man...what am I gonna do with all this punch...

Re:Punch anyone? (2, Informative)

gpronger (1142181) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417141)

Spike it. You'll get more showing up than if it was simply if it visible. And if you spike it strong enough, they'll think that saw it. Where you located, I may show up if you follow my advice?

Greg P

Re:Punch anyone? (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 5 years ago | (#26429639)

I'd avoid at all costs, as the clear reference of GP is to a certain cult [wikipedia.org] that committed mass suicide in the 90s. Unless, of course, you want to die...

Now that I think about it, this was the first instance I'm aware of of "hear about death and visit the dead person's webpage" that was possible. Does anyone else remember going here [wave.net] after you heard the terrible news? Oh, 1997.

In the immortal words of Monty Python... (1)

pig-power (1069288) | more than 5 years ago | (#26416925)

"RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY!!"

Where is Aerosmith? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26417113)

Is Bruce Willis on standby?

Ride to heaven!!! (1)

moxley (895517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417433)

I've got the Flavor-Aid and cyanide....You guys just bring your sneakers and death shrouds...

Also, we're making a DVD by the way, so shave your heads and get that nutty twinkle back in your eye!!! We want to look good for our ride to heaven!!

Seriously, though... (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417613)

What are the chances that the "Lulin Sky Survey" would discover Comet Lulin? I think they knew it was coming.

That reminds me .... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417661)

I need to buy some new Nike's.

Re:That reminds me .... (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417705)

Just Do It. [zeldman.com]

So the difference... (2, Informative)

wren337 (182018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26417825)

...between "stargazers are in for a treat" and "terrified population faces end of days" is about 0.41 Astronomical Units. Interesting.

Ltubgirl (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26418349)

filed countersuit, and exciting; the proNject faces, significantly Don't walk around

Anti-tail? (2, Funny)

thewiz (24994) | more than 5 years ago | (#26418947)

The photogenic Lulin has a bright tail and an "anti-tail".

Are astrophysicists sure this isn't a fin?

[Insert "Jaws" theme here]

Distance- Does Not Compute (2, Interesting)

DrLudicrous (607375) | more than 5 years ago | (#26419205)

The comet will pass 0.41 Astronomical Units from earth and reach its closest distance to Earth on February 24, about 14.5 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

Given that the average earth-moon distance is 384403 km, 14.5 times this is about 5.57 million km. This translates into about 0.0373 AU, which differs from .41 AU by about a factor of 11. Can anyone explain this discrepancy?

Re:Distance- Does Not Compute (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420597)

You're right. 0.41 AU is roughly 160 times the Earth-Moon distance.

I guess the journalist misunderstood something. Hmm, they usually do so when it's science-related news.

Re:Distance- Does Not Compute (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26421165)

I'd tend the believe the reporter got it wrong, but every where else seems to agree on 0.41 AU number.

and here i thought (1)

xaositects (786749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26420589)

/. was the anti-tail

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430389)

I'm pretty sure I'm full of life, thank you very much.

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26430773)

I'd laugh, but its not as funny knowing you'd have to black out the entire city in order to get rid of the light pollution.
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