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Comet Unexpectedly Brightens a Millionfold

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the portents-in-the-heavens dept.

Space 276

swordgeek writes "Comet 17P/Holmes, a relatively obscure and (until a few days ago) dim object, has suddenly flared to be literally a million times brighter, going from magnitude 18 to 2.8. It is just outside of the constellation Perseus, which puts it high in the sky and ideal for viewing at this time of year. The comet still appears starlike even in binoculars but should grow to several arcminutes across over the next few nights. The comet is now readily visible to the naked eye. This is a completely unexpected once-in-a-lifetime event, so get out your finest optics (even if it's just your eyes) and go comet watching!"

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Start the Search for the New Messiah! (-1, Offtopic)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112755)

If that dumbas folk singer is to be believed, he'll be found on a bus. Just like one of us.

Re:Start the Search for the New Messiah! (2, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112935)

If that dumbas folk singer is to be believed, he'll be found on a bus. Just like one of us.
Depends on the singer you're listening to. Mine says he was born in a cheap hotel at the end of Route 66, he lived a dark and twisted life and came right back just to do it again.

Re:Start the Search for the New Messiah! (1)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113227)

I once wrote a short story about Jesus living his life in a cheap motel on the edge of Route 66. It was dark and twisted.

Re:Start the Search for the New Messiah! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113431)

"It was a dark and twisted night..."

Re:Start the Search for the New Messiah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112939)

I call the frankincense ....

Re:Start the Search for the New Messiah! (1)

yakmans_dad (1144003) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113067)

You slander Joan Osborne, an excellent r&b singer, and the song's writers. The notion has a good pedigree.


Stephen jerked his thumb towards the window, saying:
- That is God.
Hooray! Ay! Whrrwhee!
- What? Mr Deasy asked.
- A shout in the street, Stephen answered, shrugging his shoulders.

we need a comet, a big one (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112805)

i don't think we've seen a really big bright comet in how long? hasn't it been decades, or centuries even? anywhere in the world?

i mean a really big bright one that eats the whole sky

we need a big bright comet because history teaches us that warring factions oftentimes stop their fighting and lay down their arms when shocked at the sight

so we need a big bright comet pronto

Re:we need a comet, a big one (2, Interesting)

jcicora (949398) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112833)

Does Halley's comet not count??

Re:we need a comet, a big one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112961)

The last coming of Halley's Comet was not that impressive.

Re:we need a comet, a big one (3, Informative)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113107)

Forget Halley's. It was a dissappointment last time anyways. Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake were even more recent (within the last 11 years) and were spectacular.

needs to be wrath of god impressive (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113373)

needs to be arcing the entire sky

then the bastards who kill in the name of god will be suitably humbled in their superstitious minds

Re:we need a comet, a big one (1)

3chuck3 (512455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112895)

No it is not a Flaring Comet, it is a Reptoid battleship, firing it's retro rocketts

our old reptile olderlord haft returnieths!!!!!

Re:we need a comet, a big one (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113015)

It'll take a few thousand years for their rocketts to reach earth. We're DOOOMED! DOOOOOMED!

Re:we need a comet, a big one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112903)

McNaught [wikipedia.org] was pretty big, and it was earlier this year. Not "ZOMG end of world" big, but it attained a magnitude of -6.0 or so (visible in the day!).

needs to be ZOMG end of world (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113331)

for those who operate under the fear of god, you need to make them afraid

Re:we need a comet, a big one (2, Informative)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113011)

Hale Bopp was both large, and bright. So.. not sure where you're going with this.

hale bopp large? bright? yoiu're joking, right? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113267)

i'm talking like this [nasa.gov]

or this [nasa.gov]

Re:hale bopp large? bright? yoiu're joking, right? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113831)

do not scale drawing

Re:we need a comet, a big one (3, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113171)

Not with our president. Bush would just point to the heavens and say, "See? God hates terrorism, too!"

Re:we need a comet, a big one (5, Funny)

laejoh (648921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113381)

Well yeah, we're talking about a comet that brightens, not a president!

Re:we need a comet, a big one (1)

mikiN (75494) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113405)

No, he wouldn't. He would claim that the comet is a terrorist and has WMD's. Then he would try to convince Congress to agree to a 3.2 trillion dollar spending bill to shoot it out of the sky before it strikes first.

Re:we need a comet, a big one (2, Insightful)

lrohrer (147725) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113751)

Actually Revelations/Ezekial talks about a poison raining down on the earth presumably from a comet. That assumes of course we are talking about the END TIMES.

Re:we need a comet, a big one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113835)

That assumes of course we are talking about the END TIMES.

That also assumes that one believes in such fairy tales. Myself, I prefer Peter Rabbit.

UK? (0, Troll)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112815)

What about in the UK? Where would I need to look to see this thing?

I know /. is American centered but the world is a pretty big place and those of us not in that continent might like to know where we can/can't see things.

Doesn't matter (2, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112919)

What about in the UK? Where would I need to look to see this thing? I know /. is American centered but the world is a pretty big place and those of us not in that continent might like to know where we can/can't see things.
It doesn't matter, it will be in the same place in the sky no matter where on Earth you are.

Re:Doesn't matter (5, Informative)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113017)

Actually, Latitude+time-of-year will make a difference.

But given that the UK and US are on the same hemisphere, that shouldn't be a problem, and if it is... Train + Rome...

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113731)

Chances are, if it is visible in Perseus from Japan and the US, it will still be visible in Perseus in the UK.

Re:Doesn't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113039)

Well, almost - there should be a very small (measurable, but invisible to the naked eye as well as amateur telescopes) parallax. The general visibility however depends mostly on the latitude, so the UK, Mongolia, southern Russia as well as Canada and the northern USA should be essentially the same.

Re:Doesn't matter (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113905)

Yes, but the sky will be in a different place above you depending on latitude.

Re:UK? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112927)

When the clouds clear up, and the rain stops.

Oh, right, UK.

Never.

Re:UK? (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113393)

I'm bemused by the CIA World Factbook's statement on the UK page that says, "more than one-half of the days are overcast". Is this unusual in the rest of the world?

Re:UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112943)

>> I know /. is American centered...

Do you have stars and stuff over there?

Re:UK? (5, Informative)

Mushdot (943219) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112951)

Looking at the last link in the summary I think we ought to be able to see it

Look for Cassiopeia ( a big and fairly obvious W or M in the sky) and track your eyes downward from it. It's going to be just down to the left of the bright star Mirfak in Perseus.

I wonder what the reason for the brightening is? Maybe it hit Voyager.

Re:UK? (3, Informative)

gomiam (587421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112967)

Fortunately for you, Earth has this weird movement called rotation that guarantees the anybody at the same latitude will be able to watch the same phenomenon as long as it is independent of Earth movement and lasts at least a rotation ;-)

This is not an eclipse, so you should be able to watch it from the UK, clouds permitting. If you are worried about latitude, you can check the low-cost flights to Spain and come to watch it from here over the weekend. I think you can see Perseus from the UK, anyway.

Re:UK? (1, Flamebait)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112969)

Sorry old bean but the comet will be hidden by the smog dontcha know.

Re:UK? (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112999)

Last I heard, the Earth rotates, and since we are both in the Northern hemisphere and even roughly the same latitude, you should be able to use the same chart -- http://media.skyandtelescope.com/images/Comet+Holmes+Finder_l.jpg [skyandtelescope.com]

Re:UK? (2, Funny)

razorh (853659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114011)

?? I don't see ANY of those lines when I look into the sky at night, is there some filter/layer I need to turn on somewhere?

Re:UK? (2, Funny)

famebait (450028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113009)

Well, umm, the UK and the US are not that different in latitude, and as for the east-west thing, last I checked the earth makes a complete revoluion every day.

Re:UK? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113059)

If you're in the UK you won't see it, due to the permanent cloud cover and rain, so don't worry about it!

However it should be pretty much overhead in the middle of the night in the NE sky, look for the Perseus constellation. Everyone in the northern hemisphere should be able to spot it according to TFA.

Re:UK? (3, Funny)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113577)

What about in the UK? Where would I need to look to see this thing?
Regardless of country - You would need to look up.

Perhaps I'll go look. (2, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112851)

Perhaps I'll go look. Despite all the hype, Halley was a bust. Kohoutek may have been the comet of the century, but that was last century. I hope this one doesn't disappoint.

Re:Perhaps I'll go look. (1)

rk (6314) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113043)

I thought Hale-Bopp [wikipedia.org] was spectacular. You could clearly see the two tails and it was close enough that scientists discovered a third cometary tail.

And to the British guy who asked: I think the constellation Perseus is the same constellation in the UK. You may be screwed if you're in Australia though. I don't think you can see Perseus from there, but I'm not sure.

explanation? (2, Interesting)

dr_tube (115121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112853)

So what could have caused this to happen? No explanation?

Cult Suicides? (1)

abug (1082487) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112857)

Were there any obscure cults waiting for something like this? One similar to Heaven's Gate [wikipedia.org] perhaps?

Why? (1, Interesting)

squoozer (730327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112859)

Does anyone have any idea why this comet has suddenly got so much brighter? Presumably it is flying past a star but surely it would do this on a fairly regular basis.

Re:Why? (5, Informative)

jamie (78724) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112957)

Well, the only star it's flying near is the big yellow one you see in the daytime. I haven't seen anything about the reason it got brighter, but my guess would be it has an icy core that has been gradually heating internally as it orbited closer to the sun, until suddenly it burst out as steam. If that's the case, maybe it'll get brighter as it gets closer and warmer... or maybe the lid's been taken off the pot and after a day of spewing a ton of stored-up H2O now it'll settle down and get dimmer.

(Like a balloon when something bad happens!)

Re:Why? (2, Informative)

pedestrian crossing (802349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113001)

Does anyone have any idea why this comet has suddenly got so much brighter? Presumably it is flying past a star but surely it would do this on a fairly regular basis.

Comets appear bright because they start to evaporate as they approach the sun, and the sun illuminates the evaporating gas and dust.

The best guess as to why this one has suddenly brightened so much is that it has either broken apart or experienced a sudden outgassing for some other reason.

BTW, the comets we see are gravitationally bound to our solar system, so the only star they ever come close to is Sol.

Re:Why? (1)

bugg_tb (581786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113013)

I hope it not flying past a star at that distance I doubt you'd be able to see it. :)

It may fly in front of a star but that wont make any real difference, its more likely to be a larger amount of gas and other material being ejected from its core as it gets closer to our Sun.

Re:Why? (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113047)

The reason thought most likely is that the core has broken up, so this may turn out to be the comet's last trip around the sun as anything other than a cloud of rocky fragments.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

ObiWanStevobi (1030352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113095)

Obviously, It's coming right for us!

Re:Why? (1)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113117)

It got brighter because it's firing retro rockets that'll put it on a collision course with Earth in 2012. /it would be soooo screwed up if I were right.

Roger MacBride Allen knows why ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113135)

Perhaps it was shot at by the Farside Cannon :)

http://www.sfreviews.net/farsidecannon.html [sfreviews.net]

Thermal pulse (5, Informative)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113347)

This comet orbits between 2.2 and 5.2 AU and it's last closest approach to the Sun was in May, 2007: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/17P/Holmes [wikipedia.org] . An AU is the average distance between the Sun and the Earth.

Comet crusts, the dark stuff that is left over after the ice sublimates, are thought to conduct heat slowly. One theory on why we see outbursts as comets move away from the Sun, as this one is doing, is that the warming pulse from the closest approach takes time to sink down to a reservior of carbon monoxide gas which then sublimate internally and blows off fairly large chunks of the comet. Another theory is that the same thermal pulse reaches a reservior of amorphous water ice, which is more common in space than crystalline ice and thus might be present in comets since their formation. When amorphous ice is warmed, it will become crystalline and release energy because the ordered state of crystaline ice is a lower energy state. This can lead to a chain reaction of further crystallization and energy release that could lead to enough warming to cause sublimation in the interior and then do the same kind of thing as in the carbon monoxide scenario.
--
Get your power from the Sun for what you already pay now: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users-selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Edit (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113513)

That should be "reservior of carbon monoxide ice"

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113987)

Maybe it's just plain crazy, but it could be a huge electric discharge because of the charge difference between the comet and the surrounding space. At least, that's what the Electric Universe people would have you believe.

Versus an increase in temperature.

Nikes and Phenobarbital (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21112907)

in 3.. 2..

Earth to comet: Y R U so late? (2, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112915)

I remember a group of people waiting for you. Some 32 people in some large farm house or something in California. All wearing some kind of black clothing and Nike shoes. They took your promise to come in 1999 or so and committed suicide but you are coming so late. OK atleast the rest of the believers can now die and meet you.

Re:Earth to comet: Y R U so late? (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112971)

I remember a group of people waiting for you. Some 32 people in some large farm house or something in California. All wearing some kind of black clothing and Nike shoes. They took your promise to come in 1999 or so and committed suicide but you are coming so late. OK atleast the rest of the believers can now die and meet you.
I can't take credit for the lyrics but they're still funny!

Song Lyrics:
Magic Comet Ride

(Parody of Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf)

I like to dream
Yes, yes
About flying around in a space machine
When a big blue ball appears in the night
Our leader says that the time is right
Hale Bopp draws near
Clean the house and pack that gear

Well, UFO is right behind
Why don't you come with me, boys and girls
On a magic comet ride
Well, UFO's got a extra seat
Why don't you take a trek with me?
Beam us up, we'll visit ET

Grab a ride, girl
Say good bye, world
Let Hale Bopp take you away

Last night I packed a travel sack
And said goodbye on video tape
Before the ship could come for me
Some witch doctor had to take my nuts away
I donned a gown
Brand new shoes from Niketown

Well, you won't know if you stay behind
Why don't you come with me, cyber geek
On a magic comet ride
We'll follow Doe and you will see
Why don't you go to sleep with me?
This plastic bag will set you free

Say goodbye, world
Log your last URL
Let the ship take you away

Well, UFO is right behind
Why don't you come with me, boys and girls
On a magic comet ride
Well, UFO's got an extra seat
Why don't you take a trek with me?
Beam us up, we'll visit ET (Marcus Tee)

Re:Earth to comet: Y R U so late? (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113201)

That's so wrong, and yet so right...

Odd behavior (5, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112929)

According to SpaceWeather.com [spaceweather.com] , not only did the comet brighten unexpectedly, it "... has no tail, [and] a remarkable golden color ...". Unless the geometry of the sun-earth-comet trio is such that the tail is pointing directly away from the earth, you'd think there'd be a massive tail given the million-fold increase in brightness.

Re:Odd behavior (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113323)

Of course, we won't see the tail because what They are not telling us is that it's headed directly for us - and that means that you of course won't see the tail, and we are all going to be extinct by next Friday!

(In less paranoid mode, we've had a good long period of settled weather with nice clear skies. As soon as something new and interesting shows up in the sky? A week's unsettled cloudy weather is forecast! Typical.)

Re:Odd behavior (1)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113455)

Don't worry, NASA is readying two shuttles right now, and Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis are on the way to the Cape as we speak...

Re:Odd behavior (4, Informative)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113649)

Just a few facts to ruin the joke.
-If a comet is heading directly for us, don't worry. If it is heading where we will be by the time it gets there, on the other hand...
-The comet tail is almost not related to its trajectory, but mostly to the direction of the solar wind hitting it, you can approximately draw a line Sun->comet->tail.

So odds are that if we ever have to collide with a comet, we will most likely be idealy placed to see its tail just before the collision.

Re:Odd behavior (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113421)

According to SpaceWeather.com [spaceweather.com] , not only did the comet brighten unexpectedly, it "... has no tail, [and] a remarkable golden color ...". Unless the geometry of the sun-earth-comet trio is such that the tail is pointing directly away from the earth, you'd think there'd be a massive tail given the million-fold increase in brightness.

More proof that its no comet, but a spaceship firing retro rockets!

Tm

Mothership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113497)

The gold color indicates it is the mothership returning from Zeta Reticuli. Prepare to meet our reticuluous overlords!

Re:Odd behavior (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113509)

Recall that the comet used to be magnitude 18. It doesn't "have" a tail because you can't see that initial tail. I wouldn't be surprised if it takes some time for the material currently being ejected to sort into a tail. The solar wind has low density and this pulse of material initially will have a relatively high density. It will get blown out into a tail over time.

Re:Odd behavior (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113583)

has no tail

That's because it's obscured. It's coming right for us!

Re:Odd behavior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113657)

Given its orbit, and given that a tail pretty much has to point away from the sun, it would be hard to get a geometry that WOULDN'T point the tail more or less straight away from the Earth.

WARNING (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112931)

The comet is now readily visible to the naked eye.

WARNING
Do not look into the comet with your remaining eye.

Re:WARNING (4, Funny)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113299)

A coworker bought a balisong (butterfly knife) as a youth, and being a methodical chap, bought "The Balisong Book", or somesuch.

The instructions started out with "First, take off the blade of the knife prior to practicing, or you will cut yourself". Being young and cocky, he ignored it and started playing with it. After cutting his hand rather badly, he decided to consult the book again.

The next line read "Now that you have bandaged your hand, tape off the knife edge like the previous instructions said".

Re:WARNING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113823)

And watch out for large walking plants.

o omen! (0, Redundant)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 6 years ago | (#21112993)

O! What horrible calamity doth this portend?

Re:o omen! (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113121)

I think it means that the Avatar's discorporated one of the Shadowlords. Two more to go!

Re:o omen! (1)

weirdcrashingnoises (1151951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113433)

perhaps the impending doom of a cataclysmic event triggered by a slashdot 10-year party. so many nerds in one place.... definitely cataclysmic.

Red Sox blowout Rockies 13 to 1 (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113697)

This portends the collapse of the National League. The curse of the Bambino is lifted in spades!

It's The COMET EMPIRE!!! (4, Funny)

saudadelinux (574392) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113035)

Where's the Argo/Yamato? Tell 'em to power up the Wave Motion Gun to deal with this intergalatic menace!

Re:It's The COMET EMPIRE!!! (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113337)

For those of us that got the reference, I highly suggest "Vorpal Blade", by John Ringo and Travis Taylor. http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1416521291/1416521291.htm?blurb [webscription.net]

Baen Books still the best ebook deal on the planet - cheaper than the paperback, multiple formats available, and NO DRM!

Weather or not. (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113137)

so get out your finest optics (even if it's just your eyes) and go comet watching!"


It's raining and overcast here, you insensitive clod!

(and always is for any significant astronomical phenomenon)

Magnitude scale incorrect on Wikipedia? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113147)

I'm not familiar with the scale used to measure magnitude so I looked it up in Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_magnitude [wikipedia.org] Can anyone explain to me why it goes -1.7, -0.7, 0, -0.24, 3, 4.6...?

Re:Magnitude scale incorrect on Wikipedia? (1)

Bob54321 (911744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113217)

My guess is wikipedia has a mistake. Unlikely I know, but there have been rumors of one or two cases of misinformation previously. Well at least that link clear up why going from 18 to 2.8 is getting brighter.

Re:Magnitude scale incorrect on Wikipedia? (5, Informative)

Myrano (952282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113271)

Magnitude is a log scale, with brighter objects having lower magnitudes. Like so much in astronomy, the reason is historical: when the first guy (Greek, probably) decided to categorize stars by brightness he said the brightest stars should be first magnitude, the next brightest second, and so on. Because of the nature of the human eye, the scale is logarithmic. Objects brighter than what this guy considered first magnitude thus have a magnitude of less than one, or even less than zero.

The numbers are funny (rather than -1, 0, 1, 2) because they're giving you sample objects so you can get an idea about the range of the scale.

Hope that helped!

Re:Magnitude scale incorrect on Wikipedia? (1)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113357)

I get that, but why is -0.24 between 0 and 3?

Re:Magnitude scale incorrect on Wikipedia? (1)

Myrano (952282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113519)

Oh, right. That's just a mistake. I completely missed that... sorry. I really should be more careful about reading stuff... I thought it was enough to RTFA, but I guess I need to RTFCTIATRT (comment that I'm about to reply to) as well. For the record, it appears that Saturn's max brightness has an apparent magnitude of around -0.3, so it's that it's out of place on the table rather than off by a minus sign.

Juloes Verne... (1)

kcdoodle (754976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113199)

I hope it comes close enough to hitch a ride!

Read Jules Verne "Off on a Comet", at Gutenburg [gutenberg.org]

Decent story if you can get past the antisemitism.

Best of all -- it's free (as in beer and in speech).

Er, where? (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113325)

...high in the sky and ideal for viewing at this time of year.

On what part of the planet? Northern hemosphere or southern? The Americas or Asia? What time of night (or day)?

In 1974, the American media were excitedly predicting a very bright comet named Kahoutek, and then when it appeared wrote how dissapointing the show was, that it wasn't even visible.

I was in Thailand that year, Kahoutek drowned out all the stars in half the sky there.

Some of you folks need to learn that the internet is a global phenomena and not restricted to your own country. Is this thing visible in my country (US)? What part of the sky, and what time? If I can see it, people in Australia can't.

-mcgrew

Re:Er, where? (0, Troll)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113581)

I blame Rob Malda for living in Michigan.. seriously.. how f'n dare he create a blog that deals with news that affects him... he's such an ignorant American.

Get over your superiority complex because you've travelled around the world. Guess what, I've been to S. American twice... you know what they talk about on the news... local items! The only time I saw anything about the US was when I was watching ESPN from the hotel. Who would've guessed the media in a certain country typically focuses on that country.

Most people on /. are smart enough to figure out the details for viewing this comment on their own. There's no reason the story needs to hold everyone's hand.

Re:Er, where? (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113829)

The summary says it's in the constellation Perseus. If you can figure out where Perseus is, there are simple ways to figure out when and where you'll be able to see it from your location.

On the other hand if you don't know where Perseus is, no amount of additional information will help you find the comet.

Re:Er, where? (1)

Phisbut (761268) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113865)

On what part of the planet? Northern hemosphere or southern? The Americas or Asia? What time of night (or day)?

This link [skyhound.com] (which is right in the summary) give you all the answers you seek...

But basically, if you can see Perseus, you can see the comet. It's visible from the northern hemisphere. Asia/America doesn't really matter... wait till your part of the world is in the dark and look up.

Re:Er, where? (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113899)

Fuck man you are too old to be on this website.

Ill watch (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113385)

Ill have time this weekend, I think ill get the telescope out and see what I can see.

It is always fun to check out new objects that show up in the sky. ;)

Unexpected Sudden Brightening? (4, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113467)



You think that's unexpected?

Wait until it suddenly changes direction!

Now thatwill be unexpected!

Warning for telescope users (-1, Redundant)

mrjb (547783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113517)

Do not stare at comet with remaining eye.

I got a photo of it through my telescope (5, Interesting)

yeremein (678037) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113617)

here [flickr.com] . There was no visible tail, just a fuzzy circle.

Wow! A once in a lifetime event! (3, Funny)

east coast (590680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113647)

So that's why it's going to be cloudy over my area for the foreseeable future?

Never fails.

THAT'S what that is! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21113691)

Was wondering what that gold stationary object I was seeing after 9pm just between those 2 trees was.

Knew it wasn't a planet as none of them seem gold, and planets tend to move with the sky...

Good to know that I can recognize new objects at night without having to be informed of them, prior.

Another Explanation? (1)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113741)

It's firing at us?

Great scale (2, Funny)

sacrilicious (316896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113891)

literally a million times brighter, going from magnitude 18 to 2.8.

Dr Evil: ... and so we will demand... one million dollars! (*laughs evilly*)
Henchman: Um, well, it turns out that a million dollars isn't so much money any more.
Dr Evil: Hmm. In that case... we will demand... fifty cents!!!

Praxis Explosion?? (1)

Mr. BS (788514) | more than 6 years ago | (#21113917)

Klingon High Command to Starfleet...Nothing to see here... move along!

All Hail! (1)

Red Pointy Tail (127601) | more than 6 years ago | (#21114005)

All Hail Galactus, Devourer of Worlds!
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