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New Comet Discovered—May Become "One of Brightest in History" (outshine the moon)
National Geographic ^ | September 27, 2012 | Andrew Fazekas

Posted on 09/28/2012 1:20:52 PM PDT by NYer


Sky-watchers in Australia ogle comet Lovejoy late last year.

If astronomers' early predictions hold true, the holidays next year may hold a glowing gift for stargazersa superbright comet, just discovered streaking near Saturn.

Even with powerful telescopes, comet 2012 S1 (ISON) is now just a faint glow in the constellation Cancer. But the ball of ice and rocks might become visible to the naked eye for a few months in late 2013 and early 2014—perhaps outshining the moon, astronomers say.

The comet is already remarkably bright, given how far it is from the sun, astronomer Raminder Singh Samra said. What's more, 2012 S1 seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1680, considered one of the most spectacular ever seen from Earth.

"If it lives up to expectations, this comet may be one of the brightest in history," said Samra, of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, Canada.

So what makes a comet a showstopper? A lot depends on how much gas and dust is blasted off the central core of ice and rocks. The bigger the resulting cloud and tail, the more reflective the body may be.

Because 2012 S1 appears to be fairly large—possibly approaching two miles (three kilometers) wide—and will fly very close to the sun, astronomers have calculated that the comet may shine brighter, though not bigger, than the full moon in the evening sky.

(Also see "New Comet Found; May Be Visible From Earth in 2013.")

Refugee From the Edge of the Solar System?

First spotted late last week by Russian astronomers Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON), comet 2012 S1 was confirmed by the International Astronomical Union on Monday.

But while we know what 2012 S1 is, it's still unclear where it came from. Its orbit suggests the comet may be a runaway from the Oort cloud, where billions of comets orbit about a hundred thousand times farther from the sun than Earth is.

"For astronomers, these distant origins are exciting," Samra said, "because it allows us to study one of the oldest objects in the solar system still in its original, pristine condition."

(Related: "Comet Is Cosmic Snow Globe, NASA Flyby Shows.")

New Comet Bound for Glory?

Right now, 2012 S1 appears to be about 615 million miles (990 million kilometers) from Earth, between the orbits of Saturn and Jupiter, astronomers say.

As the sun's gravity pulls the comet closer, it should pass about 6.2 million miles (10 million kilometers) from Mars—possibly a unique photo opportunity for NASA's new Curiosity rover.

Current orbital predictions indicate the comet will look brightest to us in the weeks just after its closest approach to the sun, on November 28, 2013—if 2012 S1 survives the experience.

As the comet comes within about 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) of the sun, the star's intense heat and gravity could cause the ice and rubble to break apart, scotching the sky show. (Related: "Comet Seen Vaporizing in Sun's Atmosphere—A First.")

"While some predictions suggest it may become as bright as the full moon, and even visible during the day, one should be cautious when predicting how exciting a comet may get," Samra said.

"Some comets have been notorious for creating a buzz but failing to put on a dazzling display," he said. "Only time will tell."

More: See the first pictures of a peanut-like comet >>


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2012s1; artyomnovichonok; astronomy; catastrophism; comet; comet2012s1; cometison; comets; greatcometof1680; greencomet; ison; kislovodsk; moon; russia; vitalinevski

1 posted on 09/28/2012 1:21:00 PM PDT by NYer
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To: SunkenCiv

Ping!


2 posted on 09/28/2012 1:21:43 PM PDT by NYer (Without justice, what else is the State but a great band of robbers? - St. Augustine)
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To: NYer

Heralding second coming?


3 posted on 09/28/2012 1:22:35 PM PDT by oldernittany
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To: NYer

... or not.


4 posted on 09/28/2012 1:24:10 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: NYer

Great news for the astronomy oriented crowd.

Not so good news for the ‘end of the world’ crowd.


5 posted on 09/28/2012 1:28:52 PM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: oldernittany
Heralding second coming?

Gosh, let's hope not 'cos I can't stand the thought of another 4 years of this guy!

6 posted on 09/28/2012 1:30:54 PM PDT by mwilli20 (BO. Making communists proud all over the world.)
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To: NYer

Another Kahoutek?...............


7 posted on 09/28/2012 1:31:46 PM PDT by Red Badger (Is it just me, or is Hillary! starting to look like Benjamin Franklin?.................)
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To: NYer

Wonder if we’re going to see the same level of hysteria over this one that we saw over Elenin.


8 posted on 09/28/2012 1:34:03 PM PDT by Darksheare (Try my coffee, first one's free.....)
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To: NYer

There is a ship behind the comet. I have sneakers and robes for sale at my website. www.ImPrettySureThisIsTheRightOne.com


9 posted on 09/28/2012 1:40:10 PM PDT by TangoLimaSierra (To the left the truth looks like Right-Wing extremism.)
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To: ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton

10 posted on 09/28/2012 1:41:39 PM PDT by roostercashews (Having a gun doesn't make you safer, but knowing how to use one does.)
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To: oldernittany

>>>Heralding second coming?<<<

I think Scripture says He will return like a thief in the night, not like a spotlight. ;)


11 posted on 09/28/2012 1:42:00 PM PDT by redpoll
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To: oldernittany

Comet Wormwood?


12 posted on 09/28/2012 1:42:23 PM PDT by eCSMaster (Indep. Payment Advisory Board = "Death Panels")
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To: NYer

The mayans where off by a year.


13 posted on 09/28/2012 1:44:16 PM PDT by Baseballguy (If we knew what we know now in Oct would we do anything different?)
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To: oldernittany

Better not be! I’m spending all my money this year with full intentions of being out of cash by Dec. 21st. We go one day beyond that, I’m going to be looking for the Federal Government to bail me outta this financial mess I’m creating!


14 posted on 09/28/2012 1:47:59 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: Red Badger

I remember that last one was a bit of a disappointment. I could see it with the naked eye but could see no detail.

All I had to view it with was a 30 power spotting scope tho it was a good one, made with extra low dispersion glass. I do recall going over to my parents’ house and setting up the scope. My parents who were in their 80s wanted to see it and they did.

Maybe this one will be better.


15 posted on 09/28/2012 1:48:17 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: NYer

We shall call this comet Kohoutek II because the hype has already started. It’s close approach to the sun will be problematic for a bright display, no?


16 posted on 09/28/2012 1:52:31 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Obama gives us the gift of downward mobility)
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To: NYer

Not coming close to earth around Dec 21st is it?


17 posted on 09/28/2012 2:14:01 PM PDT by The Sons of Liberty ("Get that evil, foreign, muslim, usurping bastard out of MY White House!" FUBO GTFO!)
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To: NYer

I remember seeing Ikeya back in the early-mid 60s. I could see it sitting in a chair in our living room looking out the front door when it was pretty bright outside around sunset. (Not my photo.)

18 posted on 09/28/2012 2:46:31 PM PDT by Right Wing Assault (Dick Obama is more inexperienced now than he was before he was elected.)
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To: ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton
Not so good news for the ‘end of the world’ crowd.

I don't know...I think it might be a glorious event.

19 posted on 09/28/2012 3:17:09 PM PDT by EBH (0bama is guilty of willful neglect of duty.)
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To: usconservative

I hear 0pansy has a “stash full of cell phones....”


20 posted on 09/28/2012 3:26:13 PM PDT by redshawk (0pansy is a Liar and Hates.........he just hates!)
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To: NYer

Comet “Novichonok-Nevski”, I guess is the name if the article is correct.


21 posted on 09/28/2012 3:58:39 PM PDT by procrustes (You make Free Republic look bad!)
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To: redshawk

ROFL!


22 posted on 09/28/2012 4:11:26 PM PDT by usconservative (When The Ballot Box No Longer Counts, The Ammunition Box Does. (What's In Your Ammo Box?))
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To: NYer

Comets just creep me out.

There may be a dozen comets bearing down on us right now and we wouldn’t know it for weeks or months to come. Almost all comets miss the Earth, but some scientists speculate that comet impacts are what filled the oceans with water.

And a comet strike would be a “disaster” of the first order. In fact, that’s where the word “disaster” came from — “dis-” meaning bad and “aster” meaning star.


23 posted on 09/28/2012 8:08:33 PM PDT by DNME (Something wicked this way comes ... before the election. Finish your preps.)
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To: NYer

Thanks NYer.

Newly spotted comet may outshine the full moon
New Scientist | Tuesday, September 25, 2012 | Jeff Hecht
Posted on 09/26/2012 6:29:10 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2936767/posts


24 posted on 09/28/2012 10:13:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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Thanks NYer. No ping, just adding to the catalog.



25 posted on 09/29/2012 7:07:45 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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