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Space Science

Newly Spotted Comet May Shine Among Brightest In History 100

Posted by timothy
from the until-bruce-willis-destroys-it dept.
Reader intellitech points to an article at National Geographic, from which he excerpts: "If astronomers' early predictions hold true, the holidays next year may hold a glowing gift for stargazers—a 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."
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Newly Spotted Comet May Shine Among Brightest In History

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  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @12:55AM (#41496897)

    I'm old enough to have heard this sort of speculation about Kohoutek as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2012 @01:45AM (#41497037)

    I'm old enough to remember Comet Bennett, in the early winter of 1970. I walked to school every morning, keeping my eye fixed on it, much to the irritation of the drivers that I somewhat randomly shared the roads with.
        I had a 4.5" Newtonian back home; but telescopes are not the best means of looking at comets. A decent pair of 7x50 binoculars are much better.
        I'm looking forward to this one. I took some good pix of McNaught, just at sunset, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. This time I might do better.

  • by guttentag (313541) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @02:07AM (#41497097) Journal
    I'm just old enough to remember seeing Halley's Comet in '86 and telling my parents I'd be too old to remember the first sighting when it came back in 2061.

    And I remember the next day at school when the teacher asked if everyone saw the comet, and one person proudly announced that he watched it on TV. That was the first time I said the word "dumbass" in public. I have a terrible feeling that the percentage of kids who tell the class they saw the comet on TV (or "YouTwitFace" -- the future conglomerate of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook) will be much higher the next time around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 29, 2012 @03:15AM (#41497241)

    Never mind. [areavoices.com]
    "Because the orbits of the two comets are similar doesn’t necessarily mean that the 1680 comet is the same as C/2012 S1 (ISON). It’s more likely a fragment of that comet. The orbital period of the 1680 comet is somewhere around 9,000-10,000 years, so the last time it was near Earth was long before the birth of Christ."

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