“Once in a Civilization” Comet to Zip past Earth Next Year

mr. sin

Registered User
Mar 30, 2005
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#1
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com...vilization-comet-to-zip-past-earth-next-year/


As it flares out of the distant Oort Cloud, the newly discovered comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) appears to be heading on a trajectory that could make for one of the most spectacular night-sky events in living memory. Why is this comet expected to be so unique? Two reasons:
Astronomers predict that the comet will pass just 1.16 million miles from the Sun as it swings around its perihelion, or closest approach. (This may seem like a lot, but remember—the Sun is big. If we were to scale the Sun down to the size of Earth, the comet would pass well within the orbits of dozens of satellites.) The close approach will melt enormous amounts of the comet’s ice, releasing dust and gas and forming what should be a magnificent tail.
After it loops around the Sun and forms this tail, the comet should then pass relatively close to Earth—not near enough to cause any worry, but close enough to put on a great show. Viewers in the Northern Hemisphere will get the best view as the comet blooms in the weeks approaching Christmas 2013. The comet could grow as bright as the full moon.
Of course, comets have a habit of not living up to expectations. This one could be sucked into the Sun during its close approach, or not grow as much of a tail as astronomers hope.
But that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for what Astronomy Now is awkwardly calling “a once-in-a-civilisation’s-lifetime” event. The comet expert John E. Bortle is already comparing ISON with the Great Comet of 1680, which, according to contemporary accounts, caused the people of New York’s Manhattan Island to be “overcome with terror at a sight in the heavens such as has seldom greeted human eyes…. In the province of New York a day of fasting and humiliation was appointed, in order that the wrath of God might be assuaged.”
We can only hope for such a show.
 

OilyJillFart

Well-Lubed Member
Sep 26, 2008
2,859
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#3
Ooh, comet for christmas next year. I wonder if the other reindeer will show up too..

(boo..?)
 

mills

I'll give em a state, a state of unconsciousness
Jan 30, 2005
13,849
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#6
In the province of New York a day of fasting and humiliation was appointed, in order that the wrath of God might be assuaged.”
We can only hope for such a show.
Get Don on that asap.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
Dec 9, 2004
24,329
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Silverdale, WA
#7
What are the odds that the Earth's orbit will take us into the comet's path? We can only hope, right?
 
Jun 30, 2005
10,800
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outsiddah Boston
#8
well if it pays off it will probably be obscured by a freak Nor'easter here in Ma. That's what always happens...but it seems awesome.
 

OccupyWackbag

Registered User
Dec 12, 2011
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#11
:D


Cool shit. Any time you can look up at the sky and see something that isn't normally there is a good time. Unless that something is coming right for you. That would kinda suck.
You mean like a Palestinian rocket?
 

LiddyRules

I'm Gonna Be The Bestest Pilot In The Whole Galaxy
Jun 1, 2005
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#12
 

Guilty Spark

It's freeing and refreshing
May 4, 2005
6,353
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#14
I think they're calling it "Silver Surfer". Be ready to hear that non stop come 2013.
 

OccupyWackbag

Registered User
Dec 12, 2011
3,416
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#15
Cool shit. Any time you can look up at the sky and see something that isn't normally there is a good time. Unless that something is coming right for you. That would kinda suck.
You mean like a Palestinian rocket?
Seriously nothing?

I mean I know it's me but come on, that's a hilarious response.
 

Buster H

Alt-F4
Wackbag Staff
Dec 6, 2004
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#18
Did a little more reading on this. Apparently, it will be at its brightest after it passes the sun and is on its way out. Might end up being a dud if it gets sucked into the sun. :(
 

Neon

ネオン
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Mar 23, 2008
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#19
Did a little more reading on this. Apparently, it will be at its brightest after it passes the sun and is on its way out. Might end up being a dud if it gets sucked into the sun. :(
Yeah, no sun - no tail.