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"Suicide" Comet Storm Hits Sun—Bigger Sun-Kisser Coming?
National Geographic News ^ | January 17, 2011 | Andrew Fazekas

Posted on 01/20/2011 5:39:20 AM PST by Red Badger

A recent storm of small comets that pelted the sun could herald the coming a much bigger icy visitor, astronomers say.

Since its launch in 1995, NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, orbiter has captured pictures of 2,000 comets as they've flown past the sun.

Most of these comets are so-called sungrazers, relatively tiny comets whose orbits bring them so near the sun that they are often vaporized within hours of discovery. (See a picture of a sungrazer spied in October.)

The sun-watching telescope usually picks up one sungrazer every few days. But between December 13 and 22, SOHO saw more than two dozen sungrazers appear and disintegrate.

Seeing "25 comets in just ten days, that's unprecedented," Karl Battams, of the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. "It was crazy!"

According to Battams and colleagues, the comet swarm could be forerunner fragments from a much larger parent comet that may be headed along a similar path. And such a large icy body coming so near the sun would result in a spectacular sky show.

Sun-Kissing Comet "Granddaddy" on the Way?

Despite becoming a leading comet hunter, SOHO was initially designed to study the sun. For example, one camera on the probe uses a device called a coronagraph to block out the main body of the sun so that it can see fainter features in the star's upper atmosphere.

(Related: "Sun Erupts—Epic Blast Seen by NASA Solar Observatory." With video)

As it happens, this setup also allows SOHO to spot tiny, house-size comets taking their death plunges.

Over the years, the number of sungrazing comets detected by SOHO has increased, from 69 in 1997 to 200 in 2010.

Even after accounting for more participation from comet hunters and efforts to optimize images for comet-spotting, the numbers appear to show a significant increase in sungrazers, the astronomers say.

(Related: "Weird Asteroid Really a Crusty Old Comet?")

And the recent flurry of kamikaze comets may be pieces from a larger body similar to the Ikeya-Seki comet of 1965, Battams and colleagues say.

The granddaddy of all sungrazing comets, the three-mile-wide (five-kilometer-wide) core of Ikeya-Seki swept within 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) of the solar surface.

Rather than vaporizing, the large comet survived its close encounter and whipped around the sun, becoming so bright in Earth's sky that, for a time, it was visible during the day.

Since there were no space-based solar probes at the time, no one knows whether that event was preceded by a storm of smaller comets.

Comet Storm Remnants of a Broken Body?

But according to comet hunter David Levy, the coming of a large sungrazer is just speculation for now. Comets in general are quite fragile and break apart easily, so this comet storm may simply be the last gasp of a bigger body that no longer exists, he said.

"Most of the comets that SOHO has discovered have been rather small and are probably little fragments that have spilt off of much larger comets that had previous encounters with the sun," said Levy, co-discoverer of the famous Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet that hit Jupiter in 1994.

(Related: "Third Jupiter Fireball Spotted—Sky-Watching Army Needed?")

Comet expert Don Yeomans, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, agrees.

"I would be surprised if there really is a larger object waiting to come in and take center stage and these smaller objects are its precursers," Yeomans said. "It's more likely these could be the remnants of a much larger object that broke up and is no longer with us."

The only way to know for sure, Yeomans said, is to watch and see if the rate of increase in sungrazers continues, which he admits would be "pretty amazing and unusual."

He also warns that if there is another Ikeya-Seki barreling toward the sun, sky-watchers shouldn't hold their collective breath. After all, if you trace the orbital paths of the comet storm, any parent body would be coming from the farthest reaches of the solar system.

"We are talking about long waiting periods" until such a comet neared the sun, he said, "possibly anywhere upward of thousands to millions of years."


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: astronomy; catastrophism; comet; solar; space; xplanets
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The sun-kissing comet Ikeya-Seki, as it appeared in the dawn sky in 1965.

Photograph by Victor R. Boswell, Jr., National Geographic

Go to article for more links...........

1 posted on 01/20/2011 5:39:28 AM PST by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger
Bigger Sun-Kisser Coming?

sometime around 12/21/2012??

2 posted on 01/20/2011 5:43:28 AM PST by Vaquero (BHO....'The Pretenda from Kenya')
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To: Vaquero

You’ll have to ask George Lucas..............


3 posted on 01/20/2011 5:44:24 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
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To: Red Badger
Seeing "25 comets in just ten days, that's unprecedented," Karl Battams, of the United States Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. "It was crazy!"

Er, they've only had the scope up since 1995. You would need centuries or millenia or even mega-years of data before you could determine what is "unprecedented" or "crazy".

4 posted on 01/20/2011 5:45:56 AM PST by Seruzawa (If you agree with the French raise your hand - If you are French raise both hands.)
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To: Red Badger

What ever happened to our FRiend who posted the “Astronomy Picture Of The Day”?


5 posted on 01/20/2011 5:51:41 AM PST by gigster
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To: Red Badger
You’ll have to ask George Lucas..............

he's tied up


6 posted on 01/20/2011 5:53:44 AM PST by Vaquero (BHO....'The Pretenda from Kenya')
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To: gigster

I think he may have gone off into the heavens.............


7 posted on 01/20/2011 5:54:00 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
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To: Seruzawa
Yes and we get the same kind of “Unprecedented” statements about global warming and Holes in the Ozone layer.

All of these statements are a bunch of hog wash because the insignificant amount of data available.

But because a scientist says it the press picks it up and writes about it like it is profound. NO questioning permitted it is “the consensus of scientific truth”.

Your not a “denier” are you?

8 posted on 01/20/2011 6:04:02 AM PST by Pontiac
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To: Pontiac

Proud “denier” since forever.


9 posted on 01/20/2011 6:25:28 AM PST by Seruzawa (If you agree with the French raise your hand - If you are French raise both hands.)
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To: Pontiac

Comets lose mass every time they pass the sun.
If the solar system is “billions” of years old,
why are there still comets?

There’s been no observation of any “comet factory” on the edge of the solar system.


10 posted on 01/20/2011 6:27:39 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: gigster; sig226

FReeper sig226 got disgusted with some of the stupidity and viciousness thrown around FR back in Sept. and said “Good-Bye.”

IMO, it was FR’s loss.


11 posted on 01/20/2011 6:30:07 AM PST by Roccus
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To: SunkenCiv; The Comedian

Ping


12 posted on 01/20/2011 6:35:32 AM PST by Silentgypsy
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To: MrB
There's no “comet factory,” but there is a “comet bank” called the Kuiper belt out beyond the gas giants.
13 posted on 01/20/2011 6:39:26 AM PST by VanShuyten ("a shadow...draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence.")
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To: gigster
What ever happened to our FRiend who posted the “Astronomy Picture Of The Day”?

Don't know. But you can go right to the source here.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/archivepix.html

14 posted on 01/20/2011 6:42:31 AM PST by Cheburashka (Democratic Underground - the Hogwarts of Stupid.)
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To: MrB
There’s been no observation of any “comet factory” on the edge of the solar system.

http://nineplanets.org/kboc.html

15 posted on 01/20/2011 6:45:55 AM PST by Cheburashka (Democratic Underground - the Hogwarts of Stupid.)
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To: VanShuyten

Kuiper belt and “Oort” cloud are hypothetical “rescuing devices” for the problem.
A few hundred KBO’s have been actually been observed,
but in order to be the source of short period comets,
there would have to be billions of observable ice balls out there.


16 posted on 01/20/2011 6:46:12 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: MrB

“There’s been no observation of any “comet factory” on the edge of the solar system.”

http://www.universetoday.com/32522/oort-cloud/


17 posted on 01/20/2011 7:25:06 AM PST by eCSMaster (My memory's not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be.)
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To: eCSMaster

Again, a proposed, hypothetical rescuing device.
Basically, this thing HAS to exist (though we haven’t observed it) in order to account for the problem of short period comets and billions of years.


18 posted on 01/20/2011 7:27:15 AM PST by MrB (The difference between a (de)humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: SunkenCiv; CJ Wolf; houeto; Quix; null and void; B4Ranch; Whenifhow; Silentgypsy; FromLori; ...
Snowball's-chance ping.

(Thanks for the ping Silentgypsy!)

"Space Energy/Solar Weirdness" ping.


Ping list dealing with odd space phenomena and solar events.

FReepmail me if you want on or off

The Comedian's "Space Energy/Solar Weirdness" ping list...


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

19 posted on 01/20/2011 7:51:56 AM PST by The Comedian ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" - B. Goldwater)
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To: The Comedian

SOUNDS LIKE more

“SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS”

of the END TIMES

to me.

Didn’t happen the first 50 years of my life anything like they have the last 10 years.


20 posted on 01/20/2011 7:57:31 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: The Comedian

>>”We are talking about long waiting periods” until such a comet neared the sun, he said, “possibly anywhere upward of thousands to millions of years.”<<

This expert astronomer and my dog are on the same level of intellect.


21 posted on 01/20/2011 8:28:17 AM PST by B4Ranch (Do NOT remain seated until this ride comes to a full and complete stop! We're going the wrong way!)
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To: gigster
What ever happened to our FRiend who posted the “Astronomy Picture Of The Day”?

Don't know. I have the site bookmarked and go look at the new picture every day.

Here's the ARCHIVE SITE with EVERY PICTURE from EVERY DAY starting June 1995.

Astronomy Picture of the Day Archive

Here is today's pic.


22 posted on 01/20/2011 8:32:53 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Quix; The Comedian
Didn’t happen the first 50 years of my life anything like they have the last 10 years.

Don't you think it has more to with our 'awareness' that it is happening, rather than how long it has been happening?

23 posted on 01/20/2011 8:39:58 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: All

Sorry, I don’t buy the Mayans account as to when the end will come.
If they were so damned smart, how come they aren’t still around and how come more sports teams don’t use them as their mascots?


24 posted on 01/20/2011 8:40:51 AM PST by Maverick68
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To: Red Badger

Bigger Sun-Kisser Coming?

When she does come, it'll be quite a thing to behold!


25 posted on 01/20/2011 8:52:58 AM PST by COBOL2Java (Obama is the least qualified guy in whatever room he walks into.)
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To: COBOL2Java

She’ll be commin’ round the mountain when she comes..............


26 posted on 01/20/2011 8:55:23 AM PST by Red Badger (Whenever these vermin call you an 'idiot', you can be sure that you are doing something right.)
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To: UCANSEE2; Alamo-Girl; Amityschild; AngieGal; AnimalLover; Ann de IL; aposiopetic; aragorn; auggy; ..

NOPE.

Chinese had excellent astronomers for many millenia.

They kept excellent records. So did some other cultures for less long periods of time.

And, certainly Pentecostals et al have paid attention as it’s a significant prophetic marker for the END TIMES. So, I’ve paid attention all my life. Yet, in the last 10 years, dramatic events have escalated in frequency and degree of drama as well as in unusual extremely rare naturel—some unprecedented as far as we can tell.


27 posted on 01/20/2011 8:58:51 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Quix

Thanks for the ping!


28 posted on 01/20/2011 8:59:39 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: UCANSEE2

That’s just a stunning picture.

Psalm 19:1-2

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.


29 posted on 01/20/2011 9:13:47 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: gigster; Red Badger

Good question. I miss those.


30 posted on 01/20/2011 9:27:52 AM PST by mcshot (So this is how it feels to be flushed. The "that's impossible" days are upon us.)
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To: Quix
Chinese had excellent astronomers for many millenia.

That may be. But they didn't have a spacecraft that orbited the Sun and could take pictures that reveal things THEY could never see from the surface of the Earth.

We SEE more SUICIDAL COMETS hitting the SUN because we have an instrument that gives us the ability.

Heck, it wasn't that long ago that we had NO IDEA that comets went on suicidal missions to the Sun.

How many COMETS did the 'ancient' CHINESE have records of where they saw it CRASH into the BACK side of the Sun?

31 posted on 01/20/2011 10:47:01 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Maverick68

Reporter: “How come the Mayan calender ends in December 2012?”

Mayan: “When does your calendar end?”


32 posted on 01/20/2011 10:48:36 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: Quix
Yet, in the last 10 years, dramatic events have escalated in frequency and degree of drama .

Only our global awareness has increased. There were always Earthquakes. But we didn't 'know' about most of them. There were always volcanoes, but we didn't 'know' about most of them.

I think eclipses used to cause the 'public' to exhibit a greater degree of DRAMA, than they do now. They still occurred with the same exact frequency.

How many pyramids are there in Egypt?

33 posted on 01/20/2011 10:56:46 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: metmom
2 of my favorites.


34 posted on 01/20/2011 10:59:23 AM PST by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: UCANSEE2

What are those of?


35 posted on 01/20/2011 11:03:41 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: UCANSEE2

I’m not an expert on Chinese Astronomy.

I know they have some incredible records of incredible events.

I don’t think that the fact of our satellites alters the END TIMES PROPHETIC PREDICTION aspect in the least.

THAT’S merely part of the SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS.

One Scripture even interestingly notes:

YEA THOUGH THEY BUILD THEIR NESTS AMONGST THE STARS, YET WILL I BRING THEM DOWN.

. . .

Certainly we have little to no reliable history of mortals doing that before our era.


36 posted on 01/20/2011 11:39:11 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: UCANSEE2

I don’t know that I have anything else to add ATT.

I think you are leaning over so far from a TYPE I ERROR that you are virtually sucking up to a TYPE II ERROR, virtually certain.


37 posted on 01/20/2011 11:40:55 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: UCANSEE2

Beautiful shots.


38 posted on 01/20/2011 11:41:28 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: Quix
Obadiah 1:4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. [KJV]

1:4 If thou dost go up high as an eagle, And if between stars thou dost set thy nest, From thence I bring thee down, An affirmation of Jehovah. [Young's literal translation]

1:4 Though you mount on high as the eagle, and though your nest is set among the stars, I will bring you down from there, says Yahweh.[World English Bible]

If you want the full impact of the verse, Young's literal translation is it!

39 posted on 01/20/2011 11:48:21 AM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: MHGinTN

Great.

Interesting.

Particularly given that purportedly

AMERICA . . . ?The Eagle?

has nests on the moon, Mars and a moon of Jupiter or some such.


40 posted on 01/20/2011 11:55:27 AM PST by Quix (Times are a changin' INSURE you have believed in your heart & confessed Jesus as Lord Come NtheFlesh)
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To: UCANSEE2

Click! New desktop pic. :o)


41 posted on 01/20/2011 12:12:18 PM PST by redhead ("I think I'm the best fish filleter in the whole third grade." --Piper Palin)
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To: B4Ranch
>>”We are talking about long waiting periods” until such a comet neared the sun, he said, “possibly anywhere upward of thousands to millions of years.”<<

This expert astronomer and my dog are on the same level of intellect.

I'm tellin' ya, logic and English are turning into the secret handshakes of the 21st century.


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

42 posted on 01/20/2011 12:21:52 PM PST by The Comedian ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" - B. Goldwater)
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To: The Comedian

A friend earlier to day mentioned that today’s English vocabulary is disintegrating into a single syllable language. I agreed and speculated the cause might be texting. I’m confident that texting has debilitated many Americans ability to spell.


43 posted on 01/20/2011 3:28:35 PM PST by B4Ranch (Do NOT remain seated until this ride comes to a full and complete stop! We're going the wrong way!)
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To: B4Ranch


Frowning takes 68 muscles.
Smiling takes 6.
Pulling this trigger takes 2.
I'm lazy.

44 posted on 01/20/2011 3:38:14 PM PST by The Comedian ("Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" - B. Goldwater)
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To: gigster
Sig226 Posted for the last time here, and he posted his last APOD on July 26, 2010.

I miss him big time and wish he'd come back.

45 posted on 01/20/2011 4:08:30 PM PST by TheOldLady ("...Communists in Congress, and Islamics everywhere, are showing who they truly are." - Lazamataz)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...
...between December 13 and 22, SOHO saw more than two dozen sungrazers appear and disintegrate... According to Battams and colleagues, the comet swarm could be forerunner fragments from a much larger parent comet that may be headed along a similar path... according to comet hunter David Levy, the coming of a large sungrazer is just speculation for now. Comets in general are quite fragile and break apart easily, so this comet storm may simply be the last gasp of a bigger body that no longer exists, he said... Comet expert Don Yeomans, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, agrees.
Thanks Silentgypsy and The Comedian for the pings, and thanks Red Badger for the topic.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

46 posted on 01/20/2011 8:28:20 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; BBell; ...
...between December 13 and 22, SOHO saw more than two dozen sungrazers appear and disintegrate... According to Battams and colleagues, the comet swarm could be forerunner fragments from a much larger parent comet that may be headed along a similar path... according to comet hunter David Levy, the coming of a large sungrazer is just speculation for now. Comets in general are quite fragile and break apart easily, so this comet storm may simply be the last gasp of a bigger body that no longer exists, he said... Comet expert Don Yeomans, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, agrees.
Thanks Silentgypsy and The Comedian for the pings, and thanks Red Badger for the topic.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

47 posted on 01/20/2011 8:30:39 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Silentgypsy; The Comedian; Red Badger; KevinDavis; annie laurie; garbageseeker; ...
...The granddaddy of all sungrazing comets, the three-mile-wide (five-kilometer-wide) core of Ikeya-Seki swept within 280,000 miles (450,000 kilometers) of the solar surface [in 1965]. Rather than vaporizing, the large comet survived its close encounter and whipped around the sun, becoming so bright in Earth's sky that, for a time, it was visible during the day. Since there were no space-based solar probes at the time, no one knows whether that event was preceded by a storm of smaller comets...
Thanks Silentgypsy and The Comedian for the pings, and thanks Red Badger for the topic.
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

48 posted on 01/20/2011 8:32:41 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: gigster; Cheburashka; UCANSEE2; Roccus; TheOldLady

Yeah, it was too bad, but probably not surprising that Sig226 left FR. Wish he’d (she’d?) handed off the list to someone (not me, somebody else).


49 posted on 01/20/2011 8:37:41 PM PST by SunkenCiv (The 2nd Amendment follows right behind the 1st because some people are hard of hearing.)
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To: Red Badger

...and she’ll be driving six white horses.


50 posted on 01/21/2011 7:49:03 AM PST by BenLurkin (This post is not a statement of fact. It is merely a personal opinion -- or humor -- or both)
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