OH COMET ISON WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Photo Credit: NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO): CLICK photo for full size and see below for links, information and a video.
At this point I think we can use the tag line “Go home ISON, you’re drunk!” because it’s misbehaving for a comet of its stature. Perhaps it couldn’t deal with the pressure of sudden fame and popularity…..So sad lol…..
Anyway let’s attempt to be serious for a few minutes in between holiday and comet madness. As ISON approached perihelion (Closest that it gets to the Sun) it brightened dramatically and actually appeared to disintegrate as it went behind the Sun. Even as what appeared to be a dust trail emerged from behind the Sun it was apparent to everyone from the world’s best astronomers, NASA, ESA, all the way down to amateurs like myself that ISON was lost.
What we couldn’t see in the NASA SOHO images was that a portion of the comet had in fact survived perihelion and was continuing on its projected path around the Sun. In the last 12 hours or so it has actually brightened.
So that’s where we stand now in the proverbial “nutshell” as we watch and wait for more data to see what ISON will do next. There are a few points to make however: one is that there was a dramatic breakup of the comet and what emerged from behind the Sun is simply not to the same magnitude as it was before. How much of the comet is left and how stable that surviving portion is has yet to be determined. Hopefully there’s still something to see in our night sky this December but quite honestly it’s too soon to tell.
One last point I want to make is that in the last day I’ve heard a lot of people badmouthing the scientists making these observations and that’s pretty disgusting. Of the hundreds of comets observed there’s a pretty good baseline of what a comet should do as it orbits the Sun. Just because this one doesn’t do what most others have doesn’t mean anything except for the fact that it’s unusual. Professionals and amateurs alike will continue to make observations and adjust to what they believe ISON will do next and ultimately THEY will reach the correct conclusion through observation. We all love freedom of speech but it’s unfortunate to have to listen to the hypotheses of the ignorant who don’t even own a pair of binoculars and couldn’t tell you much of anything about comets telling us how ridiculous we are while they come up with the most astonishingly unintelligent ideas. ISON is not a spaceship, it’s not going to hit us and the governments just hiding it from you, it’s not alive etc. etc……I could go on for two more paragraphs about all the things I’ve heard people come up with. ISON is still a space rock that didn’t break up as much as the data indicated, that’s it. It is now heading back out of the inner solar system like every other comet. That is if the surviving segment holds together…..which I hope it does.
GO ISON GO!!!!!
Where is ISON NOW? Have a LOOK: http://theskylive.com/ison-tracker
NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission page with this photo: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/soho/
NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO): http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/
NASA SOHO LASCO3 latest Image: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/c3/512/
NASA SOHO ISON data page: http://126.96.36.199/hotshots/index.html/
NASA SOHO ISON video page: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/comet-ison-may-have-survived/
The Sun Today (Lots of great ISON info): http://www.thesuntoday.org/
NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign: http://www.isoncampaign.org/
EarthSky ISON article: http://earthsky.org/space/big-sun-diving-comet-ison-might-be-spectacular-in-2013
Waiting for ISON: http://waitingforison.wordpress.com/november-2013/
Last nights (November 28, 2013) NASA ISON Hangout on Google+: