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Self-Destructing Comet To Flash Close By
New Scientist ^ | 4-24-2006 | Kimm Groshong

Posted on 04/25/2006 2:17:04 PM PDT by blam

Self-destructing comet to flash close by

10:30 24 April 2006
NewScientist.com news service
Kimm Groshong

Astronomers will soon be treated to a close-up celestial show, with a fragmenting comet streaming across the sky in more than 30 chunks. Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has been breaking up since 1995, but between 12 and 14 May will come closer to the Earth than any comet since 1983.

Fortunately no threat is posed to Earth since, even at its closest, the nearest of the pieces will be twenty times more distant than the Moon.

But astronomers around the world will take advantage of the relatively close pass. The Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes will join with dozens of ground-based facilities for the observation campaign. And scientists expect the brightest comet pieces to be visible through binoculars and possibly, faintly, to the naked eye.

By studying the materials exposed by the break-up, astronomers hope to learn more about the interior of comets, where pristine ingredients from the solar system's earliest days are thought to be preserved. For that reason, some astronomers view the event as a free version of NASA's comet-busting Deep Impact mission.

Bursts of brightness

They also hope to gain insight about how and why such comets become fragmented. For largely unknown reasons, Comet 73P broke into as many as five pieces in 1995. Gravitational forces are known to tear apart some comets, such as the famous Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which ended its existence with a spectacular crash into Jupiter. But Comet 73P follows a 5.4-year solar orbit that does not bring it close enough to Jupiter or the Sun for gravitational tugs to be the culprit.

The initial trigger that set Comet 73P's fragmentation process in action in 1995 is still a matter of speculation. "We suspect that rotation may contribute, but it may not be rotation alone. It could be that thermal stresses are also contributing," says Zdenek Sekanina, a cometary physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, US.

A clue may come from the chronology of observations in 1995. Astronomers observed two sudden bursts of brightness from the comet in September and November. Then in December, observers caught the first glimpse of Comet 73P in its piecemeal form.

Such flare-ups are thought to be caused by the sublimation of newly exposed ice from the interior of the comet. Splitting comets have often been detected because of these flare-ups. But it remains unclear whether the outbursts actually cause comets to split or are simply an after-effect of a split that occurred through other processes.

Missing pieces

In any case, comet 73P is still breaking up. The remnant of the parent comet is known as component C and other pieces have been given letter names progressing through the alphabet. And as of this week, astronomers have reached named 37 fragments.

Some of the pieces have survived two orbits around the Sun since the original divide in 1995. But others have been lost. For example, components A, D, E and F have not been spotted this year. They may have broken into pieces too small to see or they may simply be inactive, and therefore invisible. But at least 33 mini-comets may be able to put on a light show when passing Earth.

Some fragmenting comets, such as Comet Biela in the 19th century, have produced meteor showers when flying by our planet. But Paul Wiegert, of the University of Western Ontario, does not expect a meteor shower in May, based on the nature of the 1995 break up.

He says the comet's cloud of debris is not likely to reach Earth until 2022. "But things have changed a little bit because the comet is continuing to break up," he adds. "So it's a little bit hard to say whether we will see meteor showers this year."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: by; close; comet; destructing; flash; self
A french guy is forecasting that one of these comet fragments will hit the earth on May 25, 2006...I think he said into the Atlantic Ocean.
1 posted on 04/25/2006 2:17:08 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

If anything happens, we know it will be Bush's fault!


2 posted on 04/25/2006 2:18:43 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Don't call them "Illegal Aliens." Call them what they are: CRIMINAL INVADERS!)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: blam
And scientists expect the brightest comet pieces to be visible through binoculars and possibly, faintly, to the naked eye.

Will these be visible from anywhere on earth, or only in certain places? It sounds pretty cool, I'd like to see it.

4 posted on 04/25/2006 2:20:38 PM PDT by lesser_satan
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To: freedumb2003
If anything happens, we know it will be Bush's fault!

Why do you blame our President, you liberal?

5 posted on 04/25/2006 2:23:07 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: Doe Eyes
Why do you blame our President, you liberal?

Well, Bush is doing nothing about global warming, and that is causing the comet to melt and break up like the Antarctic Ice Sheets!

(It makes about as much sense as the other global warming alarmism...)

6 posted on 04/25/2006 2:24:35 PM PDT by dirtboy (If border security first is good enough for the GOP House, it's good enough for me!)
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To: blam
A french guy is forecasting that one of these comet fragments will hit the earth on May 25, 2006...I think he said into the Atlantic Ocean.

I thought the guy was some sort of nut job.

7 posted on 04/25/2006 2:24:53 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Proud soldier in the American Army of Occupation..)
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To: blam
http://www.exopoliticsinstitute.org/Eric-Julien-25-MAY-2006-En.htm

You need to know that up to recently, before I discovered what you have just read on this fragmented comet, I received on April 7, 2006 a telepathic message from extraterrestrial friends. According to them, a méga-tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean I had experienced in a lucid dream three years ago, would occur around MAY 25, 2006. Perhaps two or three days before or after. I have two witnesses who will confirm the chronology of the facts that I describe here, but especially tens of readers on Internet and a deposit of copyright concerning my lucid dream three years earlier.

Looks like something from the Art Bell show.

8 posted on 04/25/2006 2:25:29 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Congress, since you only understand Spanish here is my proposal: ¡Amnistía, no! ¡Deportación, sí!)
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To: blam
I saw that!! I was going to post it, but thought better of it. He seems like kind of a loon, plus being that he's French just makes it worse.

I hope that he isn't right...

9 posted on 04/25/2006 2:26:08 PM PDT by ovrtaxt (My donation to the GOP went here instead: http://www.minutemanhq.com/hq/index.php)
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Snakes on a Plane!

10 posted on 04/25/2006 2:27:06 PM PDT by evets (Hu dat?)
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To: blam
Did somebody say "Comet"?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

1964 Mercury Comet

11 posted on 04/25/2006 2:30:36 PM PDT by txroadkill
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To: Mike Darancette

Surf's up, dude!


12 posted on 04/25/2006 2:30:42 PM PDT by true_blue_texican (grateful texan!)
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To: dirtboy
Well, Bush is doing nothing about global warming, and that is causing the comet to melt and break up like the Antarctic Ice Sheets!

OK, I'll give you that, but I think we'll pick up two, maybe three, seats in the House.

13 posted on 04/25/2006 2:30:53 PM PDT by Doe Eyes
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To: KarlInOhio

So, I WILL have ocean front property in Florida! :)
susie


14 posted on 04/25/2006 2:31:00 PM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: blam

These loons seem to always be predicting gloom and doom.....I've learned NEVER TO READ THEIR DELUSIONS.


15 posted on 04/25/2006 2:33:26 PM PDT by shield (A wise man's heart is at his RIGHT hand; but a fool's heart at his LEFT. Ecc. 10:2)
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To: brytlea
So, I WILL have ocean front property in Florida! :) susie

There. Fixed it for ya! ;-)

16 posted on 04/25/2006 2:35:41 PM PDT by OB1kNOb (History will record that America's unprotected southern border was its Trojan horse.)
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To: blam
He was on C2CAM last night. Surprisingly, sNoory asked him directly "Will the parts of this comet hit the Earth on or about May 25th?"

The guy hemmed and hawed, and I fell asleep before I heard his answer.
(That, and I had to DX to WABC, since the local CC station NEVER switches to an active feed after a late night sports event.
Dang keep alive after whatever game. "CBS radio networks channel 4X...beep...")

17 posted on 04/25/2006 2:35:49 PM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: blam

Good thing! I wouldn't want any of hit to land in Iraq and strike the beloved Ahmadenijad! But, if it happens, it is Allah's will.



18 posted on 04/25/2006 2:37:29 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault ("..this administration is planning a 'Right Wing Assault' on values and ideals.." - John Kerry)
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To: lesser_satan
Will these be visible from anywhere on earth, or only in certain places? It sounds pretty cool, I'd like to see it.

Here's a link. I'm too lazy to summarize it, but it will be visible in the northern hemisphere in April and May.

http://www.space.com/spacewatch/060414_night_sky.html

Sky map

19 posted on 04/25/2006 2:41:09 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Congress, since you only understand Spanish here is my proposal: ¡Amnistía, no! ¡Deportación,)
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To: KarlInOhio

Hey, my tagline has some undocumented characters in it. What's going on?


20 posted on 04/25/2006 2:42:56 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Congress, since you only understand Spanish here is my proposal: ¡Amnistía, no! ¡Deportación, sí!)
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To: blam
A french guy is forecasting that one of these comet fragments will hit the earth on May 25, 2006...

Where does one go to surrender to a comet?

21 posted on 04/25/2006 2:43:14 PM PDT by Mad_Tom_Rackham (A Liberal: One who demands half of your pie, because he didn't bake one.)
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To: Mike Darancette

What leads you to believe he's not a 'nut job'?


22 posted on 04/25/2006 2:45:53 PM PDT by TXnMA (Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! Repeat San Jacinto!)
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To: OB1kNOb

Oh darn, I was hoping it wouldn't come quite this far inland. But, that's ok, I have a kayak, and hurricane supplies. I hope the dog can swim.
susie


23 posted on 04/25/2006 2:55:15 PM PDT by brytlea (amnesty--an act of clemency by an authority by which pardon is granted esp. to a group of individual)
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To: blam

"A french guy is forecasting that one of these comet fragments will hit the earth on May 25, 2006...I think he said into the Atlantic Ocean."

I keep tabs on various "prophetic" claims online as a sort of hobby. It's an interesting look at the zeitgeist, and is sometimes surprising. The various "prophecy people" have been going on about an east coast tsunami for a while now, due to two impacts; this is going back to early last year as far as when the so-called prophecies began to appear. Here's a very recent one, mentioning the comet by name:

http://www.etpv.org/2006/sithev.html

I'm making no claims one way or the other about these things. I'm just observing. Make of it what you will.


24 posted on 04/25/2006 2:59:03 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: KarlInOhio

Thanks!


25 posted on 04/25/2006 3:01:34 PM PDT by lesser_satan
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping.


26 posted on 04/25/2006 3:03:11 PM PDT by mmercier (quick draw McGraw)
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To: KevinDavis

ping


27 posted on 04/25/2006 3:19:41 PM PDT by Vaquero ("An armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: blam

Positions charted for 1:00 am. They say that 4:00 am on May 9, will be the only observing time when the moon is not in the sky.

28 posted on 04/25/2006 4:07:06 PM PDT by concentric circles
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To: mmercier; blam; 75thOVI; AndrewC; Avoiding_Sulla; BenLurkin; Berosus; CGVet58; chilepepper; ...

Thanks mmercier for the ping. And here's what Blam mentioned:

Former Military Air Traffic Controller Claims Comet Collision with Earth on May 25, 2006
U.S. Newswire (a press release service) via Yahoo | Apr 13 | Dr. Michael Salla
Posted on 04/21/2006 10:54:42 PM EDT by george76
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1619315/posts


29 posted on 04/25/2006 4:29:02 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: KarlInOhio

Well, some of the characters jumped the buffer from another stack, of course.


30 posted on 04/25/2006 4:51:36 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: SunkenCiv

Heads, cave. Tails, submarine. Edge, surfboard.


31 posted on 04/25/2006 4:55:27 PM PDT by Eastbound
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To: RegulatorCountry
Did Asteroids And Comets Change The Tides Of Civilization?
32 posted on 04/25/2006 5:11:55 PM PDT by blam
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To: SunkenCiv
Thanks SunkenCiv.

Disaster That Struck The Ancients (Asteroid)

33 posted on 04/25/2006 5:14:39 PM PDT by blam
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To: true_blue_texican
Surf's up, dude!

Gnarly

34 posted on 04/25/2006 7:13:13 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Proud soldier in the American Army of Occupation..)
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To: Mike Darancette
I thought the guy was some sort of nut job.

He is a nut job. He claims his alien contacts will only intervene to stop the comet fragments from hitting earth if the Bush administration promises not to use nukes on Iran. The guy is clearly steeped in leftist dogma. Noory asked him why his alien buddies aren't taking action against Iran's threats of nuclear aggression. <--crickets-->

35 posted on 04/25/2006 7:20:24 PM PDT by Myrddin
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To: blam
And scientists expect the brightest comet pieces to be visible through binoculars and possibly, faintly, to the naked eye.

uh oh.


36 posted on 04/25/2006 7:26:26 PM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media.)
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To: PA Engineer

I really enjoyed the book, "Day of the Triffids". I also liked the BBC version that aired about 25 years ago.


37 posted on 04/25/2006 7:34:45 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: PA Engineer; SuziQ

It was at Christmas this year that I pointed out to my BIL in Indiana that he had three Trifids in his yard posing as trees.


38 posted on 04/25/2006 7:47:14 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

My pleasure, BL. I was out cheap DVD hunting yesterday, and alas didn't find a disk version of the mummies, but did see "When Worlds Collide", a truly beautiful kidney stone of a film. Definitely good for some laughs, and the cinematography is great. My favorite line in the whole thing is, "the fuel gauge is still on a quarter." ;')


39 posted on 04/25/2006 8:40:33 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Doe Eyes
Why do you blame our President, you liberal?

;)

40 posted on 04/25/2006 9:04:23 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Don't call them "Illegal Aliens." Call them what they are: CRIMINAL INVADERS!)
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To: blam

Big comet plunging toward our Sun
Spaceweather.com | 4-16-04 | Orlando
Posted on 04/16/2004 4:17:04 PM EDT by Orlando
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1119037/posts
[lots of fun stupidity from Truth666, now banned]

Loud Bang and House Shaking in Lycoming County Pa. ( Thread 2 )
Source: Myself
Author: Refinersfire
Posted on 07/23/2001 18:21:01 PDT by VRWC For Truth
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b5ccd7d1d7f.htm
[from Blam]
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a3b5ccd7d1d7f.htm#90


41 posted on 04/26/2006 2:06:53 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: vannrox

a little more about Clube and Napier:

The missing sun temples! (Where are they?)
Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt) | 2 - 8 January 2003 | Jill Kamil
Posted on 01/03/2003 6:59:47 PM EST by vannrox
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/816502/posts


42 posted on 04/26/2006 2:09:54 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: Eastbound

That kind of choice could put me in a coma.

[rimshot!]


43 posted on 04/26/2006 2:15:35 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam
It's a big solar system and somebody has to clean it:


44 posted on 04/26/2006 2:23:53 AM PDT by WestVirginiaRebel (Common sense will do to liberalism what the atomic bomb did to Nagasaki-Rush Limbaugh)
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To: SunkenCiv

The gravity of the situation could be astronomical!


45 posted on 04/26/2006 8:58:45 AM PDT by Eastbound
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To: Eastbound

From your elipse to God's ear...


46 posted on 04/26/2006 3:26:16 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: blam

nine months later... I noticed a photo of a very prominent comet from 1970 (not this one, another one) and it looked like the one I remember seeing early one morning when my dad woke me up to have a look at it (that was Comet Bennett).

Comet West
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_West

From Wikipedia During the comet's first run into the inner solar system for the first time in 500,000 years, the nucleus of Comet West was observed to split into four fragments as it passed within 30 million km. of the sun.

The first report of the split came around 7 March 1976 12:30UT, when reports were received that the comet had broken into two pieces. These two fragments remained the only pieces until Steven O'Meara, using the 9-inch Harvard Refractor, reported that two additional fragments had formed on the morning of 18 March.

The breakup was one of very few comet breakups observed from historical times by the 1970's. Recently, comets Shoemaker-Levy 9, Schwassmann-Wachmann-3 (73/P), C/1999 S4 LINEAR, and 57/P du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte, have been observed to disintegrate.


47 posted on 01/11/2007 10:48:23 AM PST by SunkenCiv ("I've learned to live with not knowing." -- Richard Feynman https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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