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Space Science

Newly Spotted Comet May Shine Among Brightest In History 100

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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  • Kohoutek (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @12:58AM (#41496905)

    I am also old enough to remember the speculation about Kohoutek.

    It is notoriously hard to predict the brightness of "new" comets, as you know nothing about their history.

  • Wonder when (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kiriath ( 2670145 ) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @01:52AM (#41497065)

    All the nutcases will be busting out the Kool-aid

  • Re:Kohoutek (Score:3, Insightful)

    by enilnomi ( 797821 ) on Saturday September 29, 2012 @01:02PM (#41499617)

    "Yeah. Look," Harvey said, "can you name one newsman who lost his reputation because of Kahoutek?" He nodded at the puzzled look that got. "Right. None. No chance. The public blamed the astronomers for blowing it all out of proportion. Nobody blamed the news people."

    "Why should they? You were quoting the astronomers."

    "Half the time," Harvey agreed. "But we quoted the ones who said exciting things. Two interviews. One man says Kahoutek is going to be the Big Christmas Comet. Another says, well, it's going to be a comet, but you might not see it without field glasses. Guess which tape gets shown on the six o'clock news?"

    --Lucifer's Hammer; Niven & Pournelle, 1977

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982