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Comet ISON Approaches Perihelion

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the put-on-your-game-face dept.

Space 39

New submitter BugNuker writes "Comet ISON has been speeding towards the sun, and while doing so, it has been getting brighter. There was hope that ISON would be 'Comet of the Century' material. That does not seem to be the case, but it still exists and it's still very interesting. Recently, ISON has undergone some outbursts, making it a near naked-eye object. ISON is still approaching perihelion (it will get there at 18:25 UTC on 28 November). For now, we can keep watching the STEREO spacecraft images for more evidence." Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society put together this animated GIF of the comet from images taken by the STEREO-A spacecraft. Karl Battams put together a fascinating GIF as well. The Planetary Society has a list of information feeds and scheduled events for keeping tabs on ISON.

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39 comments

Perihelion (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 5 months ago | (#45532997)

"it will get there at 18:25 UTC on 28 November)"

Assuming it stays together that long

Re:Perihelion (1)

BugNuker (656348) | about 5 months ago | (#45533073)

Can't we hope? I wan't a show in the night sky!

Re:Perihelion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45538199)

Can't we hope? I wan't a show in the night sky!

What the fuck is wrong with your brain?! Why do you think there is supposed to be an apostrophe in the word "want"?!?! Are you fucking retarded?!?!?!

Re:Perihelion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45538545)

He's a greengrocer. [wikipedia.org]

Also, English may not be his native language and he's learning it from the retards at 4chan and reddit. I'm sure that if I posted on a Spanish language site I'd look like a retard.

Re:Perihelion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45538811)

want. For fuck sakes.

Re:Perihelion (2)

TWX (665546) | about 5 months ago | (#45533077)

"it will get there at 18:25 UTC on 28 November)" Assuming it stays together that long

Pieces of it will get there at 18:25UTC on 28 November

Or,

Steam will get there at 18:25UTC on 28 November

Re:Perihelion (1)

HellCatF6 (1824178) | about 5 months ago | (#45533103)

It's only one solar dia away at it's closest - more than enough room for a light tan!

Wish we were all in Alaska.

More Info on ISON (5, Informative)

BugNuker (656348) | about 5 months ago | (#45533161)

ISON is currently moving at 117 km/s! You can track ISON live here: http://theskylive.com/ison-tracker [theskylive.com]
Many theories have been going around about the breakup. This forums is a great place for info: http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/comets-ml/conversations/topics [yahoo.com]
Also, you can checkout real-time images of ISON as they are submitted here: http://spaceweathergallery.com/ison_gallery.html [spaceweathergallery.com]

Also, If interested, I've built a site with lots of ISON information. http://isontracker.com/ [isontracker.com] - Updates everyday

Re:More Info on ISON (1)

FirstOne (193462) | about 5 months ago | (#45538485)

"ISON is currently moving at 117 km/s!

But, ISON is going to be exposed to roughly a million times the solar flux we have near Earth for several hours. I.E. 1/100th the distance, cubed.. or 100^3 increased solar flux.. I don't expect it to survive those conditions.

.

Re:More Info on ISON (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45539253)

But, ISON is going to be exposed to roughly a million times the solar flux we have near Earth for several hours. I.E. 1/100th the distance, cubed.. or 100^3 increased solar flux.. I don't expect it to survive those conditions.

Squared, not cubed, because it's a function of effective area, not volume. Other comets have survived these conditions, but the experts say it's uncertain which result we'll see.

Obligatory (0)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#45533187)

There was a UFO in the first animated GIF! It has to be Nephilum, the Mayans were right, and the apocalypse is coming!

Now that your conspiracy is satisfied carry on and enjoy the show!

Oh, you think you're funny ... (4, Interesting)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 5 months ago | (#45533469)

Imagine being one of the people who read the e-mail address placed on error messages on the STEREO servers.

Then imagine that STEREO had a highly compressed near-real time data stream that was used for space weather forecasting. And that the files were replaced once the full-resolution data was downlinked and processed.

And, by working for the government, you have a duty to respond to requests for information from the public, even when they're being completely abusive in their messages.

I've probably spent weeks of my life responding to people trying to explain that no, NASA is not covering up evidence of UFOs, because we know what those items are-- compression artifacts, internal reflections, SEP hits, etc. [nasa.gov] (in this particular case, it's pixel bleed on the CCDs [nasa.gov]).

And there's no reason to view some GIF that someone made when you can just view a slideshow of the images directly [nasa.gov]. It'll let you speed up / slow down the images (once you've downloaded them). After that, it should move into the field of view of COR2A [nasa.gov]

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (3, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about 5 months ago | (#45534127)

I did comment as a joke, but I can imagine how bad that would be. I have tried to explain the same basic concepts to people and their eyes tend to glaze over as soon as you say a two syllable word. It's not just compression artifacts to deal with either. I have met people truly convinced that the international space station is a UFO in the sky. *sigh*

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45539383)

I did

Uhmm . . . you did what?

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 5 months ago | (#45541315)

Year before last I had an hour long conversation with my grandmother, as she had called me up to ask me about the whole '2012' thing, and I would know if the sun was going to blow up or not.

It took a while, but I managed to get her to accept that the weathermen can't even tell us if it's going to rain next week, and we think there was some group hundreds of years ago that knew down to the day when something was going to happen? It'd be like claiming to know years in advance of when an earthquake, volcano eruption or tornado was going to happen.

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#45534213)

I've probably spent weeks of my life responding to people trying to explain that no, NASA is not covering up evidence of UFOs, because we know what those items are-- compression artifacts, internal reflections, SEP hits, etc. [nasa.gov] (in this particular case, it's pixel bleed on the CCDs [nasa.gov]).

Of course that's what you're going to say, because you're covering up evidence of UFOs! You think someone who works for NASA is just gonna come out and say, "Yeah, we've been visited by aliens. Where do you think semiconducters came from"? Of course not. They're gonna say, "Oh, that's swamp gas that picked up that cow and surgically removed its organs and genitalia and then put him on the ground without a single drop of blood anywhere." Pixel bleed my butt.

Anyway, you're probably just not high up enough in the government to know about the aliens. Nobody's blaming you.

But it's pretty clear that it wasn't "pixel bleed" that abducted my dog Smokey! Poor little guy, they're probably making hybrids out of him or something. Even 30 years later, it still hurts. Damn you, ET!

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (2)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 5 months ago | (#45536817)

Your dog, that wasn't ET. That was me. Don't worry, no hybrids were made. But Smokey did make a damn fine stew. Ah, that was one of the more memorable meals in my life, it was so good.

I wish I hadn't lost the recipe, it's been bugging me for years now. I've tried to recreate that stew, but I just haven't managed. Anyway, thanks for the yummy dog.

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#45537967)

But Smokey did make a damn fine stew.

You monster.

Re:Oh, you think you're funny ... (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 5 months ago | (#45538397)

Eh. All I did was abduct one little dog, slaughter it (throat cut, hung to bleed out, etc.) and turn it into one of the best meals of the century. It wasn't like I took your kid or anything. It's no worse than eating pig or beef. Honestly.

I'll believe it when I see it (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45534593)

Hale-Bopp from the top of a Welsh mountain with no light pollution for tens of miles around on the wekend it was at its' maximum was one the most awesome natural specatcles I've ever seen : it streched across the whole half of the sky it occupied and the movement around the head and out into the tail was clearly visible over time. As we've seen nothing yet with the naked eye and it might yet still burn up I'll opt for healthy skepticism right now. However if it does come up with the goods, try and make an effort to get yourself out of areas with light pollution if you can and see something you'll never forget.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 5 months ago | (#45535405)

Hale-Bopp was a spectacular sight on the evening commute from Washington DC, headed west. That's quite spectacular considering the light pollution there. Hyakutake was also visible in the morning in the same area. Growing up I had read about spectacular comets. I thought I'd never see one; then we got two in just a few years. For some reason I have fonder memories of Hyakutake. It reminded me of the comet on the Netscape logo. Netscape peaked about the same time those comets did. Also, there was no time for anybody to put together a Hyakutake death cult because it was fast moving and a bit of a surprise.

Halley's comet? It was a smudge in my binoculars. That was the only way I could see it. I thought I'd never see a great comet...

Re:I'll believe it when I see it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45535439)

Yeah, I think it's rather presumptuous of them to say "it still exists" when we can't even really see it yet. It could just be some artifact of a defect in their sensors and whatnot, and not really exist at all.

Re:I'll believe it when I see it (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#45535967)

What's to be sceptical about? This is our first shot at observing a completely new sungrazer. Whether it becomes some spectacular fireworks show comes way, way down the awesomeness scale in comparison.

It would really be nice if. . . (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | about 5 months ago | (#45535351)

When these astronomical events took place that the space geeks would just simply tell us "look there at this time". I get txt updates when the ISS is going to be visible where I live. They are so simple: time, date, travel direction, elevation. Is that so hard for the rest of the space geeks to do?

Re:It would really be nice if. . . (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#45536019)

The info's out there, just not in these articles. For the northern hemisphere it'll be above the horizon in the east before dawn and (as December progresses) in the west after sunset. You won't get text alerts for a comet (time-insensitive, unpredictable) but Heavens Above [heavens-above.com], my preferred satellite-flare web site, will give you simple "where-to-look" instructions for ISON [heavens-above.com]. You're better served by getting one of the many excellent astronomy smartphone apps; I use Star Walk but Distant Suns is also very popular. They're expensive as apps go but they're totally worth it.

Happy hunting!

Animated gifs: second object? (1)

Askmum (1038780) | about 5 months ago | (#45535577)

What is that second object in the two animated gifs? I assume ISON is the one going fastest left to right, but there is also one that has a downward trajectory (seen about when the vertical line appears in the first GIF).
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