ISON: something may have survived!


The streak at about ten o’clock


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. Let alone ices and bits of rock. But right now it appears that something might — and we have to stress might — have survived that will slingshot back into cooler solar climes and be visible in December with a small scope.

One can almost picture the spirit of Engineer Scotty working to pull off the miraculous. Oh, and the UFO-alien conspiracy theorists are being oddly quiet, which is fine. Let’s not disturb them.


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 the time of greatest danger for ISON. If it survives there’s a chance residents in the northern hemisphere will have a clear view of the comet in the first half of December, stretching across as much as a degree or two of arc, as it passes above the earth’s orbital plane at warp speed on its way out of the solar system forever: [Read more…]

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 soon for those of you who don’t use Paypal. For the rest, please send small dollar donations to DarkSydOtheMoon-at/aol-com. No amount is too small or too large. For an update on deep space visitors, go below. [Read more…]