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Double Comet Spectacular... Maybe

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the managing-expectations dept.

Space 28

jd writes "CNN is reporting that two comets, named NEAT and LINEAR after the obervatories that found them, may both be visible in the sky at the same time. The prediction is that they will first be seen in the southern hemisphere in mid-April, becoming visible in the northern skies in May. This is believed to be the first time these comets have passed through the inner solar system, so astronomers are hedging their bets on how bright they will be. Guesses range from plus infinity to minus infinity."

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what rush (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8442811)

don't see no rush

Been looking already (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8442818)

Been looking already. In fact, I could see the "Heaven's Gate" mothership in the tail before I even saw the nucleus. Yes, you've read it here first: Applethwait's coming home, and he wants his site back. Look out, cybersquatters!

I'm going to get ready, just like I did for Comet Kohoutek. I've got the bushel-baskets of 2-inch-high men all ready.

Guesses? (5, Funny)

unperson (223869) | more than 10 years ago | (#8442874) astronomers are hedging their bets on how bright they will be. Guesses range from plus infinity to minus infinity

Damn close minded scientists...are they even CONSIDERING a brightness level in the complex plane?

Re:Guesses? (1)

justanyone (308934) | more than 10 years ago | (#8463953) astronomers are hedging their bets on how bright they will be. Guesses range from plus infinity to minus infinity
oh yeah?!???!?!!

Well, I'm a scientist, too (I have a ... BACHELOR'S degree... in SCIENCE!).

And I say, it's going to plus double infinity squared! Nya! Feh!

(grin) (tounge is firmly in cheek here, no flames please)

Brightness (5, Informative)

epsilon720 (307234) | more than 10 years ago | (#8442894)

Minus infinity being, of course, the brightest. Stupid astronomers.

(I should point out that the sun has an apparent magnitude of only around -26, so minus infinity is a pretty damn bright comet.)

Re:Brightness (4, Funny)

HughsOnFirst (174255) | more than 10 years ago | (#8443251)

Guess I better stock up on sunscreen, or maybe lead.

Re:Brightness (2, Funny)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8445388)

Bah you don't need those, only tinfoil hats so the super-intelligent microbes on the comets can't control your mind!!!

Re:Brightness (1)

bob_jordan (39836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8446381)

Surely on a scale of brightness, minus infinity has to mean it smacks you in the face. It can't get much brighter then that.


Coin flip (3, Funny)

JHromadka (88188) | more than 10 years ago | (#8442964)

Maybe they should flip a coin to decide if the comets will be bright enough to see. ;)

Re:Coin flip (5, Funny)

mwheeler01 (625017) | more than 10 years ago | (#8443868)

yeah, but who can rely on the flip of a coin nowadays?

(too lazy to post a link to a previous story)

huh? (2, Funny)

hookedup (630460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8442980)

They're clustering comets now?

Re:huh? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8443026)

They're clustering comets now?

In the beowulf kind of way.

Re:huh? (2, Funny)

Toxygen (738180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8444702)

But can they run linux?

Ahh, but what order of infinity? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8442982)

Integer type of infinity?

or ...

# of decimals between 1 and 0 type of infinity?

Brightness charts out for a month already (5, Informative)

dtolman (688781) | more than 10 years ago | (#8443077)

Sky and Telescope has had an estimated brightness chart posted since the beginning of February. The article [] has already been updated to say one of the comets is falling behind the initial estimated brightness. Basically - expect a good show if you have a telescope or a good set of binoculars - don't expect a spector of doom hanging in the sky...

UFO cults.. (1, Funny)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8443230)

So my guess is that behind the first one will be some intergalactic refugees running from the ship behind the second one which is loaded with intergalactic cops with kill-o-zap ray guns on their hips and a blinking red/blue light on the outside of the ship.

In order to save the helpless refugees stuck in an endless race for freedom, followers here on earth will help stick it to the man by committing suicide just in time so that as their souls rise towards the heavens, the cop ship will pass overhead and the souls will re-materialize on board their ship so that they can possess their bodies and crash the cop-mobile into earth and allow the refugees to get away.

The refugees, forever grateful towards the helpful earth citizens, will continue on their merry way and will not need to blow the earth up like they had planned (they were hoping that large chunks of earth would smash into the perusing police force and allow them to get away).

Re:UFO cults.. (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8465923)

MOD PARENT DOWN!!! He's giving away our secrets! If too many people know about this there won't be enough room on the ships for those of us enlightened ones!

prediction... (4, Funny)

Spudley (171066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8443398)

The two comets collide, and the resulting super-comet makes a NEATly-LINEAR path directly toward Earth. :-o

Re:prediction... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8443904)

Take physics, it might do you good.

Re:prediction... (3, Informative)

Spudley (171066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8444674)

Bah. No-one appreciates a bad pun any more. ;)

Re:prediction... (1)

kommakazi (610098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8445367)

what does taking physics have to do with it? If both comets were on certain trajectories and collided while going in the same direction, it could be possible to form one larger comet.... Now the probability of this is pretty much zero, but it is possible...

ruh oh (-1, Troll)

qed123 (658353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8444140)

Was listening to coast to cast AM with Art Bell or George Nory the other night, and they had a guy who predicted that a large spherical body would hit the earth sometime around the middle of 2004 and wipe out life on the planet. He got a plane crash right in 1979, and even discussed his dreams with the government before the place crashed in Chicago. Hope he's wrong, but would be fun wouldn't it! :)

Re:ruh oh (4, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8445417)

He got a plane crash right in 1979

"Got it right" how? "On March 2 1979, FooBar Airlines flight 17 out of XYZ Airport will suffer engine failure and crash on takeoff", or "Somewhere near a major city in the late winter or spring there will be an accident involving a plane"?

And how many did he not get right? Make enough predictions and you'll have a few hits.

Re:ruh oh (-1, Offtopic)

qed123 (658353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8445647)

He predicted that the plane would be upside down (inverted). And he says he stayed home that day. I for one, believe what he said about that crash. His last interview was in 1985 ( on 20/20 ). Now whether now he is just bored with not having publicity since 1985 or just is in a hellraising mood, I don't know. But the fact is he is going out of his way to get his dream vision known to the world. He may be right, and he may be completely woefully wrong. But it's worth keeping in mind, you may die this year :* :)? :) Just live life like every moment is worthwild, and I don't know, this guy may be right, who cares. No he predicted that the airplane would be upside down and crash and he had it in his dreams, and he talked to the F** guy and they had a policy to respect stuff like that, and now the director is retired but the fact is he had a lot of publicity in the early 80's, ending in 1985 on 20/20. He may just be trying to garner some publicity, but hey his basic premise may be right. If you read his prediction he also says that the government will release some horrible plagues to reduce the human tragedy like a month before, and that is the reason I myself am sceptical. But you don't know right :) It's pretty amazing the way he got the crash in 1979 right and even if that was totally legit, he is back and claiming this now. Well I for one am going to be prepared. I will be having a normal day, just doing what is normal, but if we get wiped out I'll be happy :) Q

Re:ruh oh (-1, Offtopic)

qed123 (658353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8445773)

Also he didn't predict on blah blah date in blah blah year blah blah. He told the Federal Aviation Commision ( or some shit like that) that he is having dreams about a crash where the plane goes upside down and crashes and yes it happened soon after. It happens sometimes, the only question is is he right this time. Myself, I am very sceptical. I don't see someone having a repeat of something like this especially when it concerns a planetary body between the size of the earth and the moon and it predicts a plague released by the government a month before. Just too full of shit. But worth noting. :P I think he had a ESP/paranormal exxperiance in 1979, and now in 2004 he is just sick of being poor and trying to bank. Otherwise, cheers after we are all dead :) Q

Two comets, two spacecraft (1)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 10 years ago | (#8444821)

Two comets? No problem. We'll just send the Messiah [] ion spacecraft to destroy one of them, and the Freedom and Independence [] experimental space shuttles after the other.

Gay Marriage (4, Funny)

Marijuana al-Shehi (609113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8444887)

Two comets in the sky at the same time? That is obviously proof that our noble and benevolent (but egotistical and psychotic) God is preparing to punish us for destroying the sanctity of marriage! Oh this FreeRepublic or slashdot? Damn, there goes my karma!

Re:Gay Marriage (1)

edunbar93 (141167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8454616)

Gay marriage isn't the only thing destroying the sanctity of marriage! So are civil unions, like the one me and my wife had, since both of us are Atheists.

Except that civil unions have been legal for more than a hundred years.

But let's not get into semantics! They're pure evil I tell you! Evil!
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