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Mars could get hit by giant comet next year!

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#1 Darren Drake

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:22 AM

This would be an increadible event but the odds are pretty small at this point for an actual collision on Oct 19, 2014. Mars will be about 5.7 arcseconds and set around 9 pm local time on that day. Here is the info...
http://spaceobs.org/en/news/

#2 dyslexic nam

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:47 AM

Pardon the astrological pun, but it would be amazing if the stars could align to make this happen.

Probably wouldn't be great for any ground-based technology on Mars, but it sure would be neat from an observational perspective.

#3 BrooksObs

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

I would hasten to question where the assumption that the comet's nucleus is some 50km in diameter originates.

Currently the IAU Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams' ephemeris for the comet is listing an absolute magnitude of +6.0, indicating it to be a very average object. If one takes the nuclear magnitude to be +10.3, it would imply a probable size for the nucleus of more like say 5km, only a tenth of of the size indicated in the article. In contrast, a 50km cometary nucleus is an exceeding rare bird and is what one expects for brilliant comets like Hale-Bopp. As things stand now, C/2013 A1 is certainly no Hale-Bopp!

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#4 leviathan

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:07 PM

Poor Curiosity. :(

#5 Astrojensen

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:27 PM

Now THAT would be a cool event to see - from Earth!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#6 Mike7Mak

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:22 PM

Careful what you wish for.

#7 Astrojensen

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:34 PM

Careful what you wish for.



I think you misunderstood me. :) What I meant was that a comet impact on Mars was a cool event to watch from (the safe and distant) Earth!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#8 Mike7Mak

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:50 PM

Careful what you wish for.



I think you misunderstood me. :) What I meant was that a comet impact on Mars was a cool event to watch from (the safe and distant) Earth!


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

Lol, no I got you.

'Careful what you wish for' is just a superstitious saying that warns against potential unintended consequences of wishes granted.

I agree it would be cool to witness an impact on a rocky planet. Oops. :)

#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 03:50 PM

There's more on C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) at http://www.universet...urse-with-mars/

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#10 Astrojensen

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:33 PM

Lol, no I got you.

'Careful what you wish for' is just a superstitious saying that warns against potential unintended consequences of wishes granted.



:) And I got that as well. We have the same saying in Danish, or almost.

I agree it would be cool to witness an impact on a rocky planet. Oops. :)


Careful, now! :grin: It was pretty dang close to a big one just last week. Russian handymen had a field day, though.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#11 krp

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:15 PM

Wow, this would be exciting to see from earth. The two website above are saying magnitude -4 or -8 as seen from the surface of Mars. Are there an estimates for the apparent magnitude as seen from earth? I know it's probably too early to tell.

#12 Centaur

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:16 PM

Thanks for the heads-up, Darren! I’ve created a diagram with an “overhead” view of C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring), Mars, Earth and Sun. It’s for the months surrounding the comet’s encounter with Mars. It can be seen from the bottom of my comets webpage: www.CurtRenz.com/comets

#13 Centaur

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 08:52 PM

Are there an estimates for the apparent magnitude as seen from earth? I know it's probably too early to tell.


By utilizing the current JPL orbital elements, I estimate it will reach a peak magnitude of +7.7 for earthbound observers on 2014 SEP 10. It should be closest to Earth at 0.89 AU on 2014 SEP 05.

#14 azure1961p

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 09:15 PM

The only chilling thing to me about this is that it brings *home* the reality these things are still perilous if even remotely. I would have to believe though if this thing hit - Curiosity wouldn't be the close of the current Mars effort and possibly CURIOSITY II would be made and sent to investigate the freshly excavated (if fused and burnt) material from the hit.

It would be tremendous Ill say that. I'd have to believe its extend our Mars program.

Pete

#15 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:29 AM

Just read the article. It would certinly be cool to watch but how would it affect our Mars landers?

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#16 Tonk

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:55 AM

An object with a current orbit uncertainty spread of > 600,000 km aiming at a planet 6,800 km wide - humm

Which part of the uncertainly spread is Mars currently in? Elenin doesn't say but my bet its in the tail out at the << 0.001% mark :cynic: :moi: :question:

#17 BSJ

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:22 AM

I loaded the comet data into Stellarium and "went" to the comet (CTRL-G), for a ride along, and then cetered on Mars.

Kinda neat to see how close Mars will be to the comet, and how quickly it's moving. Even at normal speed...

#18 Special Ed

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

An object with a current orbit uncertainty spread of > 600,000 km aiming at a planet 6,800 km wide - humm

Which part of the uncertainly spread is Mars currently in? Elenin doesn't say but my bet its in the tail out at the << 0.001% mark :cynic: :moi: :question:


Are cooler, i.e. skeptical, heads prevailing here? Maybe that's why it's called "space" ?

#19 Tonk

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

I forgot to point out that even though Elenin estimates the comet diameter as 50 km, others (Bortle) recon that absolute brighness equates to a 5 km object. This is fair as a 50 km object is represented by Hale-Bop. Siding Springs doesn't look like its a Hale-Bop class comet.

So thats a 5 km object with a > 600,000 km uncertainty aiming at a 6,800 km cross section ....

#20 azure1961p

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:17 PM

Even at 5k that's still huge . The dust kicked up would be off the scale. I'd bet it'd be visible even in an 80mm. What it'd look like though I have no idea. Between the heat from the explosive impact to the sheer force sending dust up into the atmosphere - .

My hunch is its gonna fly right by - but the speculation is entertaining anyway.

Pete

#21 _Z_

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:25 PM

Phil Plait has a great writeup on this.
http://www.slate.com...he_red_plane...

If it actually hits the planet, the rovers could likely be toast, and even the orbiters could be destroyed by massive amounts of ejecta.

I bet the ensuing dust cloud would be visible in telescopes. The side of Mars that could be hit is going to face us, correct? I wonder what the time of impact would be and if the we'd be facing Mars at the time to try and watch it live?

That'd be an event to drive a couple hundred miles to get to clear skies for if you can see any kind of flash!!

#22 Astrojensen

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:31 PM

It will - as usual - be a southern hemisphere event... Mars is in Scorpius at the time and not very far from the Sun.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#23 Tonk

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:30 PM

The side of Mars that could be hit is going to face us, correct?


Not necessarity the comet is moving from below Mars to above - so IF it hits then it could equally arrive on the hidden side or the visible side.

#24 Tonk

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

Mars is in Scorpius at the time and not very far from the Sun.


Mars should be far enough from the sun in October 2014 to be in a dark sky for somebody on this planet to make observations. See Curt's charts further back in this thread. The solar elongation is above 60 degrees I think - could be higher

#25 aa6ww

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:03 PM

This would be an increadible event but the odds are pretty small at this point for an actual collision on Oct 19, 2014. Mars will be about 5.7 arcseconds and set around 9 pm local time on that day. Here is the info...
http://spaceobs.org/en/news/


I hate to see space media turn into a bunch of divas predicting stuff like this. It degrades them to the level of most television entertainment desperate journalists staving to grab any attention to justify their jobs instead of researching real information, data and facts.

Still. I'm ready for the collision!!! :lol:

...Ralph






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