Category Archive: comet ison

Nov 29 2013

ISON: something may have survived!


  By this time yesterday I was absolutely certain ISON was cooked, literally. It was tiny to start with, even by comet nucleus standards, and within a million miles of the sun for hours where insolation would heat any normal material to several thousand degrees by any scale, plenty hot enough to boil most metals. …

Continue reading »

Nov 27 2013

Comet ISON still alive & moving at about 200 miles/sec

ISON entering the sun’s outer plasma atmosphere on 27 Nov 2013 as seen by NASA’s SoHo spacecraft.Reports of Comet ISON’s suicide by sun have been premature. The plucky little nucleus, now thought to be less than a mile across, is streaking closer to its perihelion tomorrow at about 1:37 EDT. The next two days are …

Continue reading »

Nov 26 2013

Latest on Comet ISON: death by Sun?

The latest on ISON: it may be in the process of coming apart. But if it doesn’t, later this week, the Bad Astronomer and his buddies will be busy hosting a video party of ISON’s imminent pass by the fire, or its early death:

Continue reading »

Nov 22 2013

The moment of truth approaches for ISON

Thanks to some generous readers yesterday, this will be the last day before Thanksgiving Week I’ll have to bleg for money. The fact is blogging pays about a tenth what it did before the Great Recession and atheist activism isn’t exactly, as The Jerk would say, a profit deal. I’ll have a snail mail address …

Continue reading »

Oct 18 2013

Comet ISON hangs tough


Comet ISON is hanging tough for its close encounter with the sun next month. Speaking of comets, evidence for another possible impact has been detected right on the precipice of a major climate change 55 million years ago.

Continue reading »

Oct 05 2013

Comet ISON may be toast early on

  Call it premature disintegration? A cometary astronomer has identified signs in the spectra of Comet ISON that are consistent with a poorly understood process of rapid disintegration. A new webpage has been established here to track this dramatic event should it unfold. We’ll know in the next few weeks:

Continue reading »

May 16 2013

NASA picks Near Earth Object for return sample mission

NASA has announced the prime candidate for an ambitious unmanned mission that will visit a Near Earth Asteroid and return a sample of it to earth. The winner is 101955 Bennu, a member of the Apollo group of asteroids roughly half a klick in diameter:

Continue reading »

Dec 30 2012

2013 could be the year of the comet

If you’re as old as I am you have reason to be skeptical about comets. Comet Kohoutek in 1973 and the much anticipated return of Comet Halley in 1986 both failed to live up to their potential. But ISON may yet redeem the genre and prove spectacular:

Continue reading »

Oct 06 2012

Comet ISON could be spectacular


With the caveat of Kohoutek in mind, Comet ISON is shaping up to be a once in a lifetime event:

Continue reading »

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:

Continue reading »