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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Gary Z]
      #6163964 - 10/29/13 05:22 AM

Quote:

I can appreciate the sentiment that the hype around ISON is rather silly. But for many, including myself, we were not able to get into astronomy until more recently. The first comet I ever actually saw was PANSTARRS. The fact that several folks out there are taking the time to find it for themselves and share (You Tube), is encouraging. This event will help many new comers to celestial events that comets are unpredictable, but worth the find in a telescope.




I have come to accept the Hoopla over comets as pretty standard, hoopla over meteor showers as pretty standard, hoopla over eclipses as pretty standard.. I am OK with it, I have just come to expect it as part of the deal and think anything that gets people out under the night sky looking or just thinking about the night sky, that's a plus in my book, it raises awareness. Compared to reality TV, it's something real.

The stuff that is interesting to me, it's out there all the time but I don't see it in the general press. They don't hype the fact that Zeta Bootes is optimally positioned for split in the early evening or that the seeing will be excellent tonight or that there will be a double shadow transit or that Omega Centauri is visible from San Diego in the early evening..

Jon


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #6163975 - 10/29/13 05:46 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I can appreciate the sentiment that the hype around ISON is rather silly. But for many, including myself, we were not able to get into astronomy until more recently. The first comet I ever actually saw was PANSTARRS. The fact that several folks out there are taking the time to find it for themselves and share (You Tube), is encouraging. This event will help many new comers to celestial events that comets are unpredictable, but worth the find in a telescope.




I have come to accept the Hoopla over comets as pretty standard, hoopla over meteor showers as pretty standard, hoopla over eclipses as pretty standard.. I am OK with it, I have just come to expect it as part of the deal and think anything that gets people out under the night sky looking or just thinking about the night sky, that's a plus in my book, it raises awareness. Compared to reality TV, it's something real.

The stuff that is interesting to me, it's out there all the time but I don't see it in the general press. They don't hype the fact that Zeta Bootes is optimally positioned for split in the early evening or that the seeing will be excellent tonight or that there will be a double shadow transit or that Omega Centauri is visible from San Diego in the early evening..

Jon




Yeah Jon, I'm often asked at public star parties, "Why are we all out here tonight? Is there something special in the sky?" I say "Why, yes, there's always something special. Every night!" Of course, I'll then follow up with some "for example...", but good grief...
Linton


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lintonius
sage


Reged: 12/13/05

Loc: south-central Utah
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: lintonius]
      #6163978 - 10/29/13 05:52 AM

Quote:

Quote:



I have come to accept the Hoopla over comets as pretty standard, hoopla over meteor showers as pretty standard, hoopla over eclipses as pretty standard.. I am OK with it, I have just come to expect it as part of the deal and think anything that gets people out under the night sky looking or just thinking about the night sky, that's a plus in my book, it raises awareness. Compared to reality TV, it's something real.

The stuff that is interesting to me, it's out there all the time but I don't see it in the general press. They don't hype the fact that Zeta Bootes is optimally positioned for split in the early evening or that the seeing will be excellent tonight or that there will be a double shadow transit or that Omega Centauri is visible from San Diego in the early evening..

Jon




Yeah Jon, I'm often asked at public star parties, "Why are we all out here tonight? Is there something special in the sky?" I say "Why, yes, there's always something special. Every night!" Of course, I'll then follow up with some "for example...", but good grief...
Linton




'scuse me, while I kiss the sky.


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Edward E
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 03/26/06

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: nicknacknock]
      #6164340 - 10/29/13 11:02 AM

Quote:

A few months ago I started researching scopes to get a Dob. Said dob is arriving next week, but the funny thing was how vendors were stating that I had to get a telescope to enjoy the comet of the century and all. As if the night sky is not full of wonders...

I didn't order the dob for that reason, my 80mm APO refractor is more than capable to assist if ISON decides to meet everybody's expectations as stated over the course of the last few months, but much ado about nothing it seems - although I would looooove to be pleasantly surprised....




The irony of using Comets, in this case Comet ISON, to sale telescopes it that if it did become "the comet the century" one would not need to buy a telescope to see it. Now I am preaching to the choir.

I'm not against media coverage of astronomical events, when there is actually something to be seen. It does generate interest in astronomy and new observers to the hobby. It would be nice to have a grand spectacle of a comet to show the public this December but I doubt that Comet ISON will be that spectacle; it will due well to survive it's close brush with the Sun.


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MEE
super member


Reged: 07/10/10

Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Edward E]
      #6164610 - 10/29/13 01:33 PM

People who are not interested in astronomy in general generally like to be visually impressed when something astronomical is announced to them (usually via a non astronomical source such as the press). Some might retain their interest even if the celestial event is disappointing, but most won't. Some may express disappointment ("We went out for this???") while others may play nice ("Thank you for the view. That was really neat!") but may decide not to view other "special" astronomical events in the future because of their disappointment.

I, too, am disappointed in how some sources (both astronomical and non-astronomical) have portrayed Comet ISON ("Comet of the Century!", etc.) and I worry that will continue up to the time the comet is best seen.

On the other hand, how is the general press supposed to handle something like this? Sure, they can take a "wait and see" attitude and announce the comet on their newscasts and websites only if the comet is doing very well. But, it's always nice to have time to prepare for something like this-- to plan where to go, etc. If you heard about a bright comet in the sky on a Tuesday, but you couldn't go to a dark sky until Saturday, then by Saturday it might have faded. If you knew about it a few weeks or months before, you might have rearranged your schedule for it.

So, what is the press (or websites that appeal to the general public) supposed to do?

1. announce the comet ONLY if it has been currently proven to be bright and impressive (and run the risk that people might miss it because it was announced too late) or

2. announce the comet weeks or months in advance and say that it MIGHT be bright (members of the media will not likely go for this)


Edited by MEE (10/29/13 01:35 PM)


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ensign
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: MEE]
      #6164617 - 10/29/13 01:37 PM

Quote:

So, what is the press (or websites that appeal to the general public) supposed to do?

1. announce the comet ONLY if it has been currently proven to be bright and impressive (and run the risk that people might miss it because it was announced too late) or

2. announce the comet weeks or months in advance and say that it MIGHT be bright (members of the media will not likely go for this)





3. Underpromise and overdeliver.


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: ensign]
      #6165711 - 10/30/13 04:07 AM

When C/1995 01 Hale-Bopp was in (daylight) skies, most people didn't have internet so the fuzz couldn't be spread... On the other hand it's nice to see mass media pick up the news so our hobby gets some attention

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Doc Willie
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 03/31/10

Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #6166025 - 10/30/13 09:43 AM

The obvious way to hype this is to have a lottery - the maximum magnitude of the comet to 8 decimal places or some other specifiable number. Like fantasy football, where folks follow games which do not involve their home team, people will have a personal stake.

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RussL
Music Maker
*****

Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Doc Willie]
      #6166104 - 10/30/13 10:22 AM

Aw, what the heck. So, I mean, the Sombrero Galaxy is "underwhelming" from my yard, too, being so dim. But, so what? I still like looking at it. So what if ISON is dim. It's still a comet, it's still something to look at, and most importantly something to THINK about as you view it.

Whether something is underwhelming or overwhelming, or just plain regular, is all in how the viewer thinks of it.


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Kraus
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/10/12

Loc: Georgia.
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Gary Z]
      #6166258 - 10/30/13 11:58 AM


Q: What did the astronomer say when asked of that night sky object?

A: No comet.


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Faded_Star
newbie


Reged: 10/26/13

Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Gary Z]
      #6166352 - 10/30/13 12:58 PM

Well, as a recent purchaser of a first 'proper telescope' I can add ISON to the list of things that finally got me to buy one.

Other things that helped include access to sky with little light pollution, a colleague with an interest, a personal but unfulfilled interest in astronomy going back 45 years, a small cash present and not forgetting a PPI payout.

I remember reading about Halley's Comet - much the same time I read about the 1999 total eclipse. Never saw Halley's but did see Hale-Bopp. If I get to see ISON, then great, if not (and I find sitting outside for hours to be beyond me) then the least I have done is assisted the business of one of our established astronomy retailers.


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snorkler
Aperture Aficionado
*****

Reged: 10/11/04

Loc: Bay Area, California
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Faded_Star]
      #6166445 - 10/30/13 01:43 PM

I didn't get into astronomy until 2004, but the media hype about comets got me out to see Kohoutek in the '70s, Halley in the '80s, and Hyakutake in the '90s. If it keeps the ember burning, it can't be all bad.

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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: RussL]
      #6166768 - 10/30/13 04:25 PM

Quote:

Aw, what the heck. So, I mean, the Sombrero Galaxy is "underwhelming" from my yard, too, being so dim. But, so what? I still like looking at it. So what if ISON is dim. It's still a comet, it's still something to look at, and most importantly something to THINK about as you view it.




Sure. But at any moment there are several telescopic comets that satisfy that description.


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RussL
Music Maker
*****

Reged: 03/18/08

Loc: Cayce and Lancaster, SC
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #6167885 - 10/31/13 08:02 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Aw, what the heck. So, I mean, the Sombrero Galaxy is "underwhelming" from my yard, too, being so dim. But, so what? I still like looking at it. So what if ISON is dim. It's still a comet, it's still something to look at, and most importantly something to THINK about as you view it.




Sure. But at any moment there are several telescopic comets that satisfy that description.




True dat.

What I mean is, if something doesn't light yer fire, then look at something else that does. Halley's was a let down to me, but only because I had expectations. Then again, I was still delighted to look at it.


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Edward E
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 03/26/06

Loc: Tucson, Arizona
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: RussL]
      #6168350 - 10/31/13 12:12 PM

When Comets Hyakutake & Hale-Bopp was visible the local & national media covered the story and provided "fair" information as to when & where to look and what to be looking for. There was no "Comet of the Century" as we have seen with Comet ISON. Part of the blame does land on the astronomical community. Astronomy pundits did "hype" this comet soon after its discovery and the media naturally picked up on this and so the snowball started its journey (pun intended).

I remember when Comet Halley made its last pass through the inner solar system back in the mid 80s. The media covered it and pointed out that it was one of lest favorable passes to Earth and that the comet would be hard to see from the Northern Hemi. I did not know what to expect to see as Comet Halley came around; up to then I had only seen one other comet, Comet IRAS–Araki–Alcock. It was a big, blue, fuzzball that moved very rapidly across the sky. I was impressed with how large it looked compared to the moon and how fast it moved in my 8" scope. Then when Comet Halley came by, I was impressed with the details visible in my 8" scope and how the comet evolved (am I still allowed to use the "E" word these days) night to night.

So maybe the issue is with the "professionalism" or lack there of, of our media outlets these days.

I am not against media coverage of comets as they come and go, just undue hype. When a "spectacular" comet comes around and cast shadows at night, is clearly visible in broad daylight and causes the "holy rollers" to expect Gabriell's horn to blow any moment, then by all means, heap on the hype, I will be right there cheering them on but not for Comet ISON.


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DavidC
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/24/05

Loc: Mesa, Arizona
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Gary Z]
      #6172302 - 11/02/13 05:18 PM

I second the very unimpressive so far. I saw Ison for the first time about a month ago on the other side of mars and regulus, and I was using about 190X w/ my 13 inch. It was dim to say the least, but it appeared as a really faint, oblong fuzzy star, and it's shape was definitely different than surrounding stars. A couple mornings ago about 4:30 am, Ison was on the other side of mars, it was a little brighter, but still faint. But I have high hopes that it will be brighter around the first week of December. I hope it will, but if it is not much better, oh well. With comets sometimes we really can't predict them 100% correct.
David


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ThreeD
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 12/23/08

Loc: Sacramento suburbs
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: DavidC]
      #6172599 - 11/02/13 08:57 PM

Yeah, thought I would give it a shot from my backyard this morning. My children asked me to wake them up to see it. After seeing how unimpressive it was, at least from my light polluted backyard, I didn't bother to wake them up. I didn't bother to drag the 16" but in my 8" it was very difficult to pull out of the low contrast light polluted skies and was just a slightly fuzzy oblong star.

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DavidC
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/24/05

Loc: Mesa, Arizona
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: ThreeD]
      #6172756 - 11/02/13 10:53 PM

Yea, at least we saw Ison as an oblong faint fuzzy, I was told it is now about a mag 9 or 10. Everybody says Ison will get brighter, I sure hope so. But there are some great images of Ison floating around out there, especially Adam Blocks image he imaged from Mount Lemmon in Arizona.

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Illinois
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/18/06

Loc: near Dixon, Illinois USA
Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: DavidC]
      #6173217 - 11/03/13 07:39 AM

Comet Ison....what mag is right now? Thanks!

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BrooksObs
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/08/12

Re: Comet ISON_Please... new [Re: Illinois]
      #6173269 - 11/03/13 08:30 AM

The latest visual sightings reported by experienced comet observers put C/ISON's magnitude at between magnitude 9.0 and 9.5 around November 1 UT. Very disappointing and far behind anything that had been anticipated for this date (and with the comet now situated closer to the Sun than is the Earth).

BrooksObs


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