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Looks like we got us a Comet Convoy…

Well, it seems that the much anticipated Comet ISON will have company when it’s in the sky later this year. Famed comet discoverer Terry Lovejoy has found another comet, and the latest Comet Lovejoy will be joining ISON in the northern sky in December. In fact, they will be keeping each other company from the start of November – a prospect which will have comet observers and astrophotographers alike drooling, I’m sure.

As this chart – created with the fantastic planetarium smartphone App “Sky Safari” shows – at the moment Comet Lovejoy is in the constellation of Monoceros, snuggling up next to Orion in the early morning sky…

now

…and it is far too faint to see through binoculars or even a small telescope, But that will change as the days and weeks pass, and by November it should be visible in more modest equipment. Initial calculations suggest the latest Lovejoy won’t reach naked eye visibility, reaching a maximum magnitude of between 8 and 9, but as comet experts and observers always say it’s almost impossible to try and predict what a comet is going to do, so the best thing is just to work out where it is going to be and go take a look at it yourself.

On November 29th, when ISON has rounded the Sun and, we hope, begins to unfurl a tail and become visible to the naked eye, Comet Lovejoy will be close by. Here’s what comet observers will be looking at and photographing then…

Nov 29

Note: you can see the Sky Safari software has shown where Comet ISON’s tail will be at that time, poking up from behind the horizon at the bottom left there, but there’s no way of knowing if it will actually be visible.

By mid-December, when many comet experts are predicting ISON may be at its best as it climbs up towards the stars of the Plough, Comet Lovejoy will be nearby…

Dec 12

That’s a pretty exciting prospect for comet observers. But what caught my eye was what we have a chance of seeing a month earlier, before dawn on the morning of November 9th. Given clear skies, and a lot of luck, we have a chance of seeing a veritable “Comet Convoy” as 3 comets line up with Mars and Jupiter in the south east before sunrise…

Nov 9

And how bright will they all be? Well, from the left, Comet Encke will be magnitude 6, ISON should be hovering around 6 or 7, and Lovejoy will be still very faint at around magnitude 9. That means, especially in a brightening sky, none of them will probably be visible to the naked eye, but this parade will have astrophotographers out in their thousands I should think, and comet observers will be giddy with excitement.

(And what the hordes of Nibiru nutters and ISON wackos who have been getting their knickers in a twist at the prospect of *one* comet in the sky will make of a line up of THREE comets and two naked eye planets I dread to think! Their empty little heads might actually blow up!)

So… that’s going to be a right old treat, isn’t it? Typical. You wait ages for a good comet, then three come along at once -

Oh come on, someone had to say it… ;-)

More info on Comet ISON on my blogs here:

Waiting for ISON

The ISON Atlas

 

* * * * * * * UPDATE * * * * * * * *

When I went online before heading out to work this morning, and checked this blog’s viewing stats, just casually wondering if many people had read this post, I was amazed and initially delighted to see that this blog’s “viewing figures” had gone through the roof! Overnight more than a thousand people had read this post, which I thought was brilliant! Then I checked out where those readers had been, and to my disappointment and amusement I found that most had been on a forum for people who are into conspiracy theories, including, of course, many of the crackpot theories about Comet ISON being everything from a trio of UFOs, to the make-believe planet Nibiru, to the Earth-destroying Wormwood, and various other bits of nonsense.

At first I thought “Well, hopefully some of the people there will read what I wrote and find it interesting enough to make them go and check out the actual science behind this,…”

But then I saw that many of the people on that forum were actually quoting FROM this blog post to support their crazy prophesies and theories! Unbelievable! (I should be fair here and say that some of the posters were shooting down the cranks, insisting that this is nothing spooky or kooky, but they are very outnumbered. I thank them for their efforts tho!)

So let me be perfectly clear. I want to totally dissociate myself from that forum, and others like it, and I don’t want anyone coming here from anywhere else to think for a moment I share their beliefs. I think it’s pretty clear from things I’ve written on this blog and my other blogs in the past that I have no time for anyone who spouts and spreads nonsense about Comet ISON being UFOs, or Nibiru, or changing course and striking Earth, or triggering solar flares, etc. That is all utter crap, if you’ll excuse my language. The people who write and spread this stuff are either simply just so naive and so genuinely ignorant about the science behind the stories that they buy into them. Or they’re frankly too stupid to realise the truth behind the stories and will happily fall for anything crazy they read online. Or they’re deliberately and mischeviously spreading rubbish just to get attention and make themselves look big and clever on the internet. They want the world to look at them, and what they write, because it makes them feel special.

So, let me clear this up for the people on that forum, and people coming from elsewhere. There is NO connection between this new Comet Lovejoy and Comet ISON. There is no swarm of comets heading towards us. They’re not the first wave of a planetary cometary bombardment. They’re not Signs from God (any god). They’re just comets, natural members of the solar system, bits of ice orbiting the Sun just like planets and asteroids do. Neither ISON or Lovejoy will cause earthquakes, tidal waves, war or plagues, because they are just tiny objects compared to the Earth, passing us at distances of many, many millions of miles for a very brief period. Suggesting they might make things happen here on Earth is, frankly, bloody stupid, and no-one with an ounce of common sense or knowledge of basic science would believe that for a moment. It’s like suggesting a mosquito could knock over an elephant by flying past it ten miles away.

There are many scientific reasons why this is the case, but I know the hardcore nutters dismiss all of them and there’s no reasoning with them, just like you can’t reason with Apollo Hoax believers, so I’m not even going to try. So instead I’m just going to try to reach the people who are *curious* about these comets – the people who are maybe a *little* worried about them, the people who are wondering if maybe there *might* be something in all the scary stories – and give them something which will, hopefully, reassure them and lead them out of the WooWoo darkness and back into the light.

Ok. The thing is, on every day of every week of every month of every year since the formation of the solar system, all those billions of years ago, there have been comets drifting around and passing Earth. They are always there, ALWAYS there, out in space. They’re as natural a part of our world as the planets, clouds and kittens. Astronomers who observe the sky don’t get excited about comets because there are so many of the damned things! It’s like a birdspotter getting excited about blackbirds, or thrushes.

Occasionally a comet is found with unusual properties, or an unusual orbit, and then the ears of astronomers prick up, especially if orbit calculations show the comet might become visible to the naked eye. Because most comets don’t. Most comets never come anywhere near the Sun, or the Earth, so never get bright enough to be seen without a good sized telescope. ISON is unusual because it will get very close to the Sun, and relatively close to Earth, and it has the potential to become a bright naked eye object later in the year. But it might not. We don’t know yet.

But on any and every night of every year, if you wanted to, and if you had the right equipment, you could see not one but several comets in the sky. They’re not rare, they’re not unusual, they’re everywhere. So having three relatively bright comets in the same part of the sky at the same time later this year is not a “Sign from God,” it is not proof of imminent catastrophe, and it is certainly not a sign that Judgement day is upon us. It’s a happy coincidence, nothing more. It has happened before – earlier this year astronomers in the southern hemisphere were able to see two comets, PANSTARRS and Lemmon, in the sky at the same time without any Horsemen of the Apocalypse trampling them to death. It’s not unusual. Every night, EVERY night, the sky is full of comets, if you know where to look.

Actually, come to think about it, there was very little BS talked about PANSTARRS and Lemmon during that time. Is comet nutterness a northernm hemisphere thing? Could be…

Anyway, here, let me show you. This is what the sky looks like tomorrow morning (11th Sept) before dawn. The position of Comet ISON – low in the east before sunrise – is marked…

1

But if you could click your fingers and see all the other comets visible in the sky at the same time, the ones too faint to be seen without a telescope, this is what you’d see…

2

See? DOZENS of them! Let’s make that even clearer by flicking between the two…

ISON now

Surely that shows you how crazy the whole conspiracy fuss about Comet ISON is.  It’s just one comet amongst many. End of story. It’s only newsworthy for what it *might* do.

Now, this new comet, Comet Lovejoy. It’s great news for astronomers who love observing things in the sky, but it’s not a “sign” of anything, and really, the nutters and fruit loops jumping on it as a sign of something need to STFU. Because, like ISON, it’s just another comet. It might creep up to naked eye visibility if we’re lucky, but at the moment it looks like we’ll need binoculars or a small telescope to see it. But that’s ok. Comets can look pretty through binoculars and small telescopes.

But again, let me show you why there’s nothing “going on” here. Here’s the view, looking to the east, on a frosty mid December morning. By then ISON might, if we’re lucky, be sporting a long, bright tail, maybe even dominating the sky. Or it might not. Too soon to know that. Whatever it does, it will have company in the sky – newly-discovered Comet Lovejoy will be close by. Not *physically* close by, just visually, i.e. it will lie along the same line of sight for us here on Earth. Although it’s not marked on this next pic, Lovejoy is one of the specks to ISON’s upper left…

5

But if you could do the finger clicking thing again, and magically reveal all the comets visible in the sky at that time, this is just a small part of what you’d see, they’d be strewn across the sky like grains of sand…

6

Flicking between the two with an animation shows you how foolish it is to predict ISON or any other comet might be responsible for anything happening here on Earth, good or bad, or is a “sign” of some celestial event, or a threatening cosmic email from some invisible deity. ISON and Lovejoy are just comets in a sky full of comets.

ISON Dec 11

Which brings me to the “Comet Convoy” I wrote about in the first place and which, as I predicted, has got the fruit loops and Sign Seers in such a headspin.

This is what will be in the sky on the morning of November 9th. Three comets and a couple of planets, all lined up…

Nov 9

I know it looks very dramatic – a grand celestial alignment of comets and planets a line of worlds and worldlets angling down towards the horizon – but the pic is misleading. While the planets Mars and Jupiter will be clearly visible to the naked eye, looking like stars, it’s more than likely that not *ONE* of the trio of comets will be visible to the naked eye, because of the brightness of the sky and the faintness of the comets themselves. So no, there’ll be no traffic- or heart-stopping spectacle in the sky for the man or woman in the street. This is something subtle and actually quite challenging for *astronomers* to see and enjoy and photograph when sane, normal people are still fast asleep in their beds.

And **again**, this is nothing Earth-shattering or Prophesy-fulfilling. Because if you could click your fingers and make all the other comets visible at that time appear too, this is what you’d see…

4

Flicking between the two…

Nov 9th Comet Convoy

And remember, that’s just in *that* part of the sky. If you could stood and turned on the spot, letting the whole sky wheel around you like you were in a planetarium,  you would see the sky positively spattered with comets.

So please, enough of of the predictions and prophesies. Comet ISON is not going to hit Earth. It is not Nibiru – and we know that because Nibiru is a fairy tale, made up by people who basically know **** all about astronomy and can’t be bothered to haul their arses off their sofas while they’re watching their Apollo Hoax and alien abduction DVDs and X-Files re-runs to pick up a book or a magazine, or go to a science website, and learn. It’s not Wormwood, because that’s made up too. It’s not an alien habitat called Xanterexx because, well, come on, that’s too ridiculous to even slap down. And the appearance of Comet Lovejoy in the same area of the sky doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a coincidence, that’s all. If it had been twice as faint we would never have spotted it, but it would still have been in that part of the sky – and no-one would have been any the wiser.

I hope that has set some people’s minds at rest. If it still hasn’t, then consider this. The people who are insisting ISON is a UGFO (or 3 UFOs!!) and are predicting that ISON is going to destroy Earth, or is going to trigger solar flares, or is a Sign from God, are the very same people who predicted, with equal swagger and confidence, that another comet, Elenin, would cause havoc and kill us all when it passed this way a few years ago. It sailed past harmlessly, of course, and they have conveniently forgotten all about that. These are the same people who predicted with gleeful breathlesness that the world would end when that Mayan Calendar reached its end. The date they chose came, and went, and we’re still here. Now they’re busy recalculating the date of Armageddon, which had already been postponed several times before. These are the same people who predicted past alignments of planets would affect the Earth, and when nothing happened conveniently forgot all about their prophesies.

So yes, we do have a Comet Convoy to enjoy in November, and come Christmas we may have a nice, bright naked eye comet to stare at, and another, fainter one to peer at through telescopes. This is an amazing thing, an amazing treat. It doesn’t need embroidering with rubbish about UFOs, or alien habitats, or solar flares or meteor bombardments. It’s just part of living on a planet in a busy, dynamic solar system.

It’s called science.

And it’s wonderful.

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59 Responses

  1. “Given clear skies…” ;o)

  2. Great post by the way!

  3. […] stehen. [23:50 MESZ. NACHTRÄGE: eine Grafik dazu (auch von einem Kometen-Dreier-Konvoy am 9.11., hier mehr), eine eine Notiz über eine Bestätigung des Kometen, ein Bild von M. Jäger und ein Diagramm […]

  4. Genesis 1:14

    And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

    – King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition

    Wonder what GOD is trying to tell us this time round? Could it be his Son’s return is at hand?

    • Mark Ward, you did not read the article?

    • Hmmm. Let me think. OR… could it be that the solar system is *full* of chunks of dirty, dusty, gritty ice, so it’s no surprise that more than one might become visible at the same time? In fact, if you cluld look up at the sky and see all the comets flying about out there it would be *strewn* with them? Hey, maybe I should write a blog post about that – oh, hang on, I did. And you just read it. And added a BS comment anyway. Unbelievable.

    • Why quote a rewritten, heavily edited book of Bronze Age philosophy, when you can actually use, I don’t know, SCIENCE and REASON!

      • look please people stop quoting things from the bible, it has no reference here , we have a either a hunk of rock or a hunk of ice depending on who you ask , coming thru our solar system , it’s path is predetermined, not ordained . if you want to quote people , quote Einstein, but at least improve on his work . if you really want to go there with the bible , please understand it was written down by people over 2000 years ago , and rewritten multiple times , i challenge you to copy a book more than once without changing anything , if you can’t then i suggest to consider how damaged the original message is.
        i am not saying god does not exist , but mostly just to not hurt your feelings or to enrage you depending on your beliefs . we are all on this rock (earth) together , we can with ego sometimes end up at odds with beliefs and understandings , can we try to work together to find the truth without detracting into total garbage.

  5. […] as Stuart Atkinson noted on his website, Cumbrian Sky a great lineup should be in the northern hemisphere skies on November 9, 2013. From the left, […]

  6. Hi, great blog, and very informative. Check out the 23/24th November at about 06:30 GMT. The eastern horizon should be rather impressive, I know I shall be setting the alarm early and preparing all my photographic equipment here in the Canaries. ISON, ENKE, Mercury and Saturn grouped, and just maybe the comets will be visible.

  7. Hi great blog – about time someone put the wackos down – looking forward to the next few months – quite a treat for any amateur observer

  8. […] as Stuart Atkinson noted on his website, Cumbrian Sky a great lineup should be in the northern hemisphere skies on November 9, 2013. From the left, Comet […]

  9. Great blog, kind regards from El Salvador! I just wonder if the three comets will be seen after sunset as well…

  10. Arcturus is ‘our’ star. We’ve been watching ‘Arctie’ since the day we met and used to drive home from work with it to guide us. I hope the sky is not overcast where we live on Nov 9th. Looking forward to the event. Thanks for letting us know.

  11. Thank you for taking the trouble to post. Interesting, sensible information.
    btw excellent closing comment.
    “its called science-and its wonderful”

  12. …p.s. I get the best night sky views of all. Hale-Bopp in mid-Atlantic was awesome ;)

  13. Love your blogs , puts my mind at ease after seeing all the utube garbage i want to enjoy science not fear it , keep up the great work

  14. Do we know of any other time in history where 3 comets are visible at same time?

    • Every Night. EVERY night. As I explain in the post, there are dozens of comets visible in the sky each and every night if you know where to look and have the right equipment. Three naked eye comets would be rare, yes, but not impossible, but we’re not going to have that with Encke, Lovejoy and ISON anyway.

  15. You are so going to regret covering up the return of the Annanaki when they (Enki & co) turn up in Dec, I for one salute our alien overlords and look forward to their golden reign.

  16. Just stocked up on pot noddles and bottled water ready for the end of human dominance. Welcome lizard things .lol.

  17. During the 2011 comet Elenin doom and gloom, many people feared the appearance of 45P/Honda–Mrkos–Pajdušáková and 255P/Levy.

  18. This morning (Sept. 17, 2013) I arrived at work and found many co-workers in panic over the “yellowish” news of this comet and apparent F.E.M.A. and D.H.S. movements due around the same time as this comet pass by earth. Because no official notice of this correlation of events has been done, my personal belief is that we will be observing a show from nature by Thanksgiving and early January 2014. There are many people who wishes to destroy the democratic way of life, publishing “yellowish” and unfounded news throughout the Internet. I personally want to thank the author (s) of this site for explaining in details about this event of the set of meteors. Best regards to all of you. (R.M.H.)

  19. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2422486/A-rare-moment-calm-Earth-Stunning-satellite-image-reveals-strangely-clear-skies-Atlantic-Pacific-Indian-Ocean.html

    Do you know of a picture for all comets equivalent to the link I provided about tropical storms. Scroll down to 2nd picture.

  20. if nothing happens this time around we have 12 months then the Mars Comet will be on its way and we all can do it all again what did God say about the comet if it misses try try and try again live long and prosper
    now where did i put my tin foil hat

  21. Science is just another name for Elohim, Jehovah, The Heavenly Father. Sorry for you, that you can’t acknowledge that.

  22. Nice blog full of good info. As an amature astronomer I’m always looking for the most informative but not so head thrashing information and facts such as this. Many thanks for that and I will share this among my friends who are not nutters :-)

  23. Hi my friend! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and include approximately all vital infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.

  24. Are your comments misleading by design, or are you just to busy online to learn yourself? Comets are not “dirty chunks of ice” Haha Wow! Reserch how we live in an electric universe. You sound arrogant

    • And ANOTHER anonymous commentator so convinced of their facts they have to hide behind a false name. Don’t you lot ever get bored? Go away, seriously.

  25. Thanks for the update makes more sense noe

  26. Yeah, cool, lots of astroids, I think you made that pretty…. Redundant. But one should think of getting off their high horse, opening their mind to possibilitiess, and thinking outside of the “box”. Question that possibly your textbook information has a chance of being wrong.. it makes you seem quite closeminded when you brush off all the “wackos” who have enough courage to question an unusual comet. Instead of hiding in their cave like you and saying, there’s no way that could be true.. it didn’t say anything about ufo’s in my textbook!? Just coudnt be. If you lived in Platos time, you be one of the sheep still calling the world flat. And anyone who brushes off Nibiru, has obviosly skimmed a few conspiracy articles and not looked in to actual antient transcripts of events.

  27. […] in the evening sky in March and April 2013. In September 2013, another comet was announced, this is C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) which will share the sky with ISON although it will probably be too dim to see without a larger amateur’s […]

  28. Do you still hold to your opinions even after seeing what ISON did to Mars on October 1st? Have you seen how the Sun is reacting to ISON’s approach today (10/28/13)? I think you have greatly underestimated this comet.

    • Yes, I absolutely do still hold to those opinions, Angie. Comets do not cause solar flares. They just don’t. There’s no evidence for that at all. Solar flares are happening all the time, they don’t get triggered by comets. They happen because the Sun is basically a big knotted ball of f****d up magnetic energy and occasionally it twangs inside and a flare happens. These happen ALL THE TIME, but more happen during “Solar Maximum” – and we’re reaching solar maximum now. It’s late, but it looks like we’re finally reaching it, so the sudden increase in flare activity is no surprise, and is actually very welcome for solar astronomers. But they are not being caused by comets, they’re genuinely just a natural part of the Sun’s activity. If a comet is seen approaching the Sun and a solar event is caught on camera at the same time, it’s just a coincidence – the event would have happened if the comet had been there or not. If you do a little “research” of your own, go through the SDO archives, you would see thousands of solar events caught on SDO#s cameras when there wasn’t a comet in sight. And ISON is still a long, long way from the Sun anyway. So, all these scientific facts combined = comets don’t cause solar flares. as for what ISON “did to Mars” on Oct 1st, it didn’t do ANYTHING to Mars! I was out observing – well, trying to observe! – the comet on that date, and Mars suffered no ill effects. It certainly didn’t turn into a comet, or develop a coma, or anything like that. I know this FOR A FACT because I was looking at Mars with my own eyes, and taking photographs of it, and absolutely nothing happened to it. And if you don’t believe me, I suggest you go to the brilliant – independant – website Spaceweather.com and go back through the Comet ISON Realtime Photo Gallery, to that date, and see all the photos of Mars taken then, by people around the world. None of them, not one of them, shows anything unusual happening to Mars. The video claiming this is absolute BS, a fake. If something like that had happened to Mars it would have been the astronomy story of the century. It would have been seen, and photographed, by observers in their THOUSANDS, around the world, and the internet’s astronomy sites would be awash with pictures of it. (If a new cloud develops on Jupiter or Saturn it is photographed by hundreds of people within hours, and the images put up on websites almost immediately. If Mars had suddenly developed a cloud around it, that would have been seen, and photographed, and the news would have been everywhere, believe me, that’s how amateur astronomy works now, it’s very much a realtime hobby}. Images taken ON Mars, by the Mars rovers, which are downloaded to Earth automatically, without being screened, would have shown something happening. It just didn’t happen. And the people telling you it did happen are either naively repeating the rubbish of others, or lying, simple as that.

  29. I do not under stand people thy bealve that its a singe but at any given time hundrents of comets can be in the same view area as each outher are vary raly thay can be seen by the naked eye but it is rare to beable to see 2 or 3 it’s going to be a hell of a light show that’s all

  30. […] you will see. On September 10, 2013, astronomy educator Stuart Atkinson at the blog Cumbrian Sky wrote about the apparent plethora of comets visible to amateur astronomers right now. He […]

  31. i have a question for anyone here really , has anyone seen any recent pictures from the mars rover ? i ask as i have been unable to find any , this might just be my lack of being able to search enough, i am only asking as any inductive storm would probably have fried it.

  32. I am surprised and disappointed by the nature of the comments posted here, and the nature of the article’s “update”. I’m surprised that the author would care enough about astronomy to make the original post, and then spend a much greater amount of time and space being upset about the alleged nature of those that chose to read the original post (which was made public).

    And regarding the comments: one comment asks, quite innocently and without implication of anything else, how frequently this many comets are visible at once. The reply comments are vicious.
    Yet another comment completely gets it wrong and calls them meteors rather than comets, and there’s not a snide remark made among the replies.

    I thought the purpose of science was to discover and to educate; but from what I’ve seen in this article and the following comments, it would appear that science is a vehicle for calling names and acting like a bully.
    I’ve been an amateur astronomer for 38 years and all of you here know, just as well as I, that the general public doesn’t too often get excited about astronomy. But when there’s something neat like a bright comet with potential for naked-eye visibility, the public gets interested.

    Now, we’ve got four comets currently visible with binoculars or small telescopes, and two of them have a very good potential for naked-eye visibility, and naturally enough, the public is curious and interested. And if some of them believe that there could be religious or spiritual significance, what of it?

    I am shocked and appalled by the rudeness and name-calling and derogatory comments that are strewn throughout this article and the comments.

    • Hi Savannah, and thanks for your comment and for visiting my blog, I appreciate both.

      I was genuinely disappointed to read your comment, and to hear that you were “shocked and appalled” by what you read here. The thing is, I am an amateur astronomer with just as many stargazing years “under my belt” as you, and have been doing Outreach for many years too. ISON is, as you rightly say, a fantastic event for energising and educating the public, something different, something new, a great opportunity as you say. So when it gets corrupted and ruined by people draping armageddon fantasies and doomsday predictions over it, that’s wrong, and I really don’t think it;s something people like us can or should ignore, especially when the Tweets and YouTube clips are genuinely scaring some people. If you read the comments on my Waiting for ISON blog you’ll find lots of people thanking me for my comments and my attempts to counter the lunatic fringe, because they’ve seen a video or read a blog and its content has scared them. I meet lots of people like this in real life too. They come up to me after my talks and ask me, quietly, if we are in any danger “as it said on YouTube” etc. So, while it’s very easy to just accept this and say nothing, I personally don’t think I can do that. we live in a world which is increasingly ignorant of and hostile towards science, as you will recognise yourself, so when something amazing like ISON comes along and is corrupted like everything else one can either turn away from the people spoiling it, which is the easy and safe thing to do, or challenge them. I choose to do the latter, and I know for a fact that I’m only saying what many other astronomers and astronomy writers, and scientists, are thinking but don’t feel able to say. I’m spending many, many hours informing and educating people about ISON, through talks, my blogs, radio interviews, etc etc, trying very hard to make sure as many people as possible know about it, know where to look for it and know how to see it – or try! My astro society will be holding comet watching events. ISON is a brilliant opportunity to engage the public with astronomy, and science, and I’m doing my best to grasp that opportunity with both hands. So when all that hard work is spoiled by people issuing warnings about doomsday, or impacts, yes, it’s frustrating! If that frustration morphs into rudeness sometimes, well, yes, that’s wrong, I’ll have to try and rein myself in a bit! :-) But astronomers should not let the lunatic fringe go unchallenged. If we do, we’re encouraging them, and risk losing potential astronomers to the world of conspiracy theories, Nibiru and pseudoscience. Personally I’m not prepared to do that. If you see that defence of science as bullying, I’m sorry, it’s not meant to be, and I think most readers will appreciate that. Again, thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you enjoy some good views of the comet when it eventually gets its act together and turns on properly! :-)

      • ok everyone here, firstly I never said doomsday ever, i never mentioned the crap regards to Nibiru , I find the timing convenient , and that not being a conspiracy nut , you want to challenge people who want to corrupt your work , OK i get that , i don’t really appreciate being called a lunatic fringe , I presented you with data brought back from the last encounters with deep impact study which disproves your view of ice bergs, i stated the reasons why , would you call Nasa a lunatic fringe , it’s there data , please can i ask why is it such a lunatic view to ASK is there any correlation between this comet and the weather going on outside , i am not saying the end is neigh, i am saying people are building bunkers, people are stockpiling food,water and drugs, i am not talking about doomsday prepers either I am talking about governments , if you just want to look at the sky and look at the lights perhaps this is the wrong forum to present my question. I asked about the mars rover as if indeed there was a large static discharge in the atmosphere of mars then it would likely fry it,
        thankfully someone else has posted a link to the mars rover data , so it appears at least that it is up and running, leading to only three conclusions of which there is not enough data to actually answer which is true.
        1) the mars rover is either fine because no event ever took place (feasible)
        2) the mars rover survived a event (so any high energy static would be likely weak and just a photo event, unlikely to cause a problem with earth either)
        3) the data being fed to us from the mars rover is old data and is not actually live data ( I know your all going to say but its live, but i did not see any time stamps or digital time signature in any pictures , so in the true essence of science unless you happen to be the one receiving the feed , it would be foolish to just believe it’s real until one can verify )
        The fact that 3 is a option does not mean that i think it is three , i know believe it was either 1 or 2 ,
        I thanks you for your understanding and help , my question is still open , i know this detracts from the comet , but what is on the other end of the exstream weather ? global warming if you look at al gores data the temperature started to go up before the co2 , this suggests a event driving the co2 not the other way round , also if you look at the hockey stick graph of co2 output , it suggests almost exponential growth, I remember back in the 80’s it was published about a long orbit comet but not to worry about it as it was like thirty years away, well i get some people want to attach that to there message of end of the world or second coming of Christ , or i don’t know chickens mating with sheep . what i am trying to get to is the truth , all i have is multiple data feeds , some of which are undoubtedly garbage, the seed back just of the north pole is real , someone thought it would be a good idea for the first time in human history to put a seed bank there , it seems there are a number of things transpiring at once , i am asking if there is a correlation after a serious thought about it ,
        forgetting all that has been said all the name calling , all the fringe lunatic comments .
        A few things come to mind,
        first a comet being a negatively charged or less positively charged object that the sun has the potential to store energy in electrostatic bonds , like a capacitor to hold a charge , this was evident when the deep impact meteor, where a 700kg copper projectile was fired into a large comet , they where looking for water , but initially they got two small explosions, (flashes) first appeared to be electrostatic discharge like sticking a fork into the power socket across both live and neutral, (obviously with insulating rubber gloves before someone trys it)
        anyway just before the projectile hit it’s onboard camera seemed to suffer from inductive overload and shutdown , thus also tending to point towards a electrostatic event . after this there was another satellite tasked with picking debris from the tail this was looking for ice or liquid water , if found trace elements of water but a high presence of oygen hydroxate , as in oh ions , it then lends that most comets and asteroids are not ice , what was found was that the materials returned to earth where to contain glass like beads , usually only found at lightning strike points , it was stated (accurately or not) that there was pictures of mars with a halo , it would fit that should this comet come within a close enough orbit it may interact with the electrostatic field of mars, either adding or detracting from it’s field, so not beyond scientific plausibility to spark a lighting discharge of the entire charge of mars. OK thanks for pointing out that the mars rovers are at least working , so either they survived or where never affected . it was also stated that io a moon of Jupiter was subject to volcanic activity as it passed , being told this is circumstance is one way to go, I offer perhaps it is worth checking if we actually understand the true interaction , i know the theory as in a small gravitational body cannot possibly effect a large gravitational body for ratio of sizes , under normal circumstances i would also agree , a small car hitting a large truck does not do very much , what i ask is are there other circumstances that might alter this , as in take this scenario , between the earth and moon there is a gravitational pull between them , at 1/6 of the distance of the earth and the moon this gravitational field cancels each other out , but passing a gravitational body thru this dead zone would this not cause a levering motion far greater than the original mass could have achieved ? so we come back to moments in physics , only annoyingly the moment are with large objects moving at high speed in orbits , we know thanks to rail guns that electrostatic fields can effect objects and propel them to high speeds , would it not be inversely logical to think that high speed objects crossing a electrostatic filed would not induce a large field ?.
        bottom line is either ison will have a effect on earth or it will not,
        I personally hope it will not , if anyone has any answers i am all ears

      • Michael, thanks for your comment, I genuinely appreciate you reading my blog and taking the time to post a comment, but with the greatest of respect this is *not* a forum for the to and fro of ideas, and I’m not here to be an Admin for a debate forum, or to answer lots of questions like that. I simply don’t have the time. If you are looking for that kind of interaction then I’m sure there are several forums where they would welcome your input and be happy to swap ideas with you, but I simply can’t do that, I’m sorry. I’m just saying this so you won’t think I’m ignoring your comments, and hope you will continue to read the blog. Thanks – Stu

      • Hi Phoenix, thanks for your kind response. I apologize that I came off as harsh in my previous comment. I love Astronomy and I am also a Christian, so I admit that I misinterpreted a lot of the content on here as maligning Christianity, and I took offense to that. However, neither you (nor anyone else here) addressed Christianity specifically, so I do apologize for over-reacting. Please forgive me.
        And thanks for having a great Astronomy blog; here’s hoping we get an awesome sky show over the next several weeks! :-) Happy skies!

      • Also, here are three more items for Michael Moon:

        Regarding your CO2-Global Warming question, I think data shows that human activity is driving it. Yes, natural processes drive it also, but I interpret the data to show that human activity is driving the upwards spike. Many people I know disagree with that; that’s just my opinion on it.

        I believe the seed bank you are referring to is the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, and I believe it’s purpose is simply to protect genetic diversity in the event of something unforeseen. Seems like a smart idea to me, but I don’t think there’s anything sinister behind it.

        Also, It says right up front on the MSL NASA page that Curiosity performed a software reboot (a warm reset) in response to an unanticipated event. I think that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do.

        While I believe that the world will eventually end in just the way the Bible says it will, I don’t believe any of us can know when that will be so it seems to me to be a good strategy to just live out our lives as Christ commanded: to love God and to love others as ourselves, and to be content in that. Oh, and also to love Astronomy and enjoy this beautiful Universe that God created for us to live in. :-)

  33. PS to Michael Moon, the latest info from Mars Rover Curiosity can be found here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/#.UoLKdvm-2uI

  34. Great work as usual Stu. Mind you, if you need some tin foil hats mass producing, let me know.

  35. Thank for the post, lots of miss info out there just wondering has ison changed orbit after passing mars?

  36. I think you know me, I like this 13econ1126, That’s a good post. May be u can go this way follow us.

  37. Thank you for the truth.

  38. Hi there i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anyplace, when i read
    this post i thought i could also create comment due to
    this brilliant article.

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