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Sep 28 2012

New comet may dazzle

A new comet in the frigid outer reaches of the solar system may be an old friend, and it could put on a  dazzling display in late 2013 or early 2014. But take it with a grain of salt: I’m old enough to remember the hype of Comet Kohoutek AKA the dud:

Nat’l Geo– 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.

6 comments

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  1. 1
    Argle Bargle

    Kohoutek (C/1973 E1) may have been a dud, but Hyakutake (C/1996 B2) and Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) were both excellent comets, brightly visible even in light-polluted New England.

  2. 2
    machintelligence

    But Halley’s comet in 1986 was a dud. You win some, you lose some, I guess. I was able to spot it, using binoculars, from an observation point about 10.000 feet in elevation.

  3. 3
    Pierce R. Butler

    Obviously Gawd is sending us a message.

    Fortunately, we have many among us with the gift to interpret this for the less blessed.

    Unfortunately, the only agreement these magi are likely to share is that the whole planet must vote the straight Republican ticket.

    The quantity of sheer crazy a comet bright as the full moon could catalyze in late 2012 not only validates everything said about Mayan calendars, it may render psychedelic drugs obsolete.

  4. 4
    larryfurst

    Hyakutake was the most breathtaking thing I’ve ever seen. I was living in Sacramento, and you could drive 20 minutes in any direction and find yourself in farmland with almost no light. I remember the comet being virtually overhead, and its tail seemed to stretch over half of night’s sky.

  5. 5
    sheila

    Unfortunately, the only agreement these magi are likely to share is that the whole planet must vote the straight Republican ticket.

    I think they’ll also agree on “Send me lots of money now!”

  6. 6
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    take it with a grain of salt: I’m old enough to remember the hype of Comet Kohoutek AKA the dud

    Kohoutek was actually an REM song too :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SocFRQ6LQv0

    Yes, watch this (comet-filled) space but beware overexpectations and overhype.

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