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Hoping For Another Great Comet

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#26 penguinx64

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 05:03 AM

I've heard about the "comet of the century" coming for 50 years already.  I'm still waiting.

ZZZzzz... 4.gif



#27 BrooksObs

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 09:16 AM

I've heard about the "comet of the century" coming for 50 years already.  I'm still waiting.

ZZZzzz... 4.gif

 

Guess if you didn't see Hyakutake then you missed the "Comet of the Century", because there sure won't be one better than that coming along. smirk.gif

 

BrooksObs


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#28 Slartibartfast

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 10:07 AM

I saw Hyakutake and Hale Bopp back in the '90s.  They were amazing!  I wish I had a telescope back then, or even thought of using binoculars, but, alas, I was not astronomy-minded back then.  frown.gif   I have a distinct memory of standing and staring at Hyakutake one night in March '96.  It was very cold and I think there were patches of snow on the ground, so it must have been a late March cold snap.  I stood there until I got chilled and had to retreat to my car.  I remember watching it evolve over the following nights and it was really interesting to see.

 

Now-a-days, I'm like Jon and Tom, any comet I can see in my telescope is good enough for me.  I do wish for another "great" comet, but even mediocre comets are exciting, IMO.  Anyone remember Comet 17P/Holmes?  It had an outburst in Oct 2007.  That was the first comet I observed after purchasing my first telescope.  Very cool!  cool.gif



#29 Sketcher

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 09:44 PM

I've heard about the "comet of the century" coming for 50 years already.  I'm still waiting.

ZZZzzz... 4.gif

Then again, some of us have seen so many comets during the past 50 years (including one, awesome, "millennium-class" comet) that we wouldn't really care all that much whether or not another came our way.

 

It helps to be prepared, at the right place, at the right times.  There have been so many opportunities over the past 50 years . . .



#30 astroclint

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 09:59 PM

I remember comet hale bopp one of the best being naked eye saw it in a green zone. 



#31 BrooksObs

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 10:01 PM

I saw Hyakutake and Hale Bopp back in the '90s.  They were amazing!  I wish I had a telescope back then, or even thought of using binoculars, but, alas, I was not astronomy-minded back then.  frown.gif   I have a distinct memory of standing and staring at Hyakutake one night in March '96.  It was very cold and I think there were patches of snow on the ground, so it must have been a late March cold snap.  I stood there until I got chilled and had to retreat to my car.  I remember watching it evolve over the following nights and it was really interesting to see.

 

Now-a-days, I'm like Jon and Tom, any comet I can see in my telescope is good enough for me.  I do wish for another "great" comet, but even mediocre comets are exciting, IMO.  Anyone remember Comet 17P/Holmes?  It had an outburst in Oct 2007.  That was the first comet I observed after purchasing my first telescope.  Very cool!  cool.gif

 

Indeed, P/Holmes was a really unique spectacle as comets go. I was alerted to its outburst within 8, or so, hours of the event's onset being first recognized as in progress. It was then still brightening, having reached 6th magnitude. When my first sighting came that very evening, the comet appeared like a new ordinary 3rd magnitude star to the naked eye and even with high powered binoculars and in spite of the bright moonlight. Telescopically (16" Dob) P/Holmes looked very much like a tiny, bright white planet with very sharply defined edges. Still, amazing as it looked, what I saw just a night or two later was one of the great observing experiences of my life!

 

As darkness came on that second night, I pointed my 16" Dob at the comet's position and loaded an eyepiece giving about 150x. What I beheld on looking into the instrument's eyepiece was almost beyond terms of description. The still fairly small, bright coma was simply filled with scores of minute twinkling little "stars" that, while faint even when at their brightest, were still modestly above my visual threshold! These little "twinkling stars" I took to likely be reflections off countless huge shareds of cometary ice, released simultaneously as the great outburst had begun. This idea was later well supported when a prominent JPL astronomer published a paper that indicated the outburst had resulted from a vast section of the comet's surface abruptly yet slowing lifted off the nucleus as a single mass, releasing vast quantities of fresh volatiles below. The mighty disruption of the comet's surface would have simultaneously liberated a cloud of countless other lesser great blocks of ice that would have reflected sunlight. The phenomenon was short-lived and was gone by the next night I looked.

 

BrooksObs 


Edited by BrooksObs, 05 June 2018 - 10:08 PM.

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#32 Tyson M

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Posted 05 June 2018 - 10:09 PM

I've only seen Comet Ison.

 

With binos through heavy light pollution white zone. Since I was just getting to astronomy- that's all I owned at the time. I wish I would've travelled to a darksite to view it.


Edited by Tyson M, 05 June 2018 - 10:23 PM.


#33 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 01:12 AM

Perhaps at some point in the future, a quantum super-computer with integrated biological (artificially grown brain) with electronic-synaptic technology and an comet-predicting algorithym may be able to forecast new comets coming in from the far reaches of the oort cloud with amazing accuracy...but until then, we still have to do it the old fashioned way. With a combination of dedicated amateur comet hunters, automated sky surveying scopes and instruments like PANSTARS (I know I spelt that wrong, sorry PANSTARS guys) and other groups such as NEO search teams.

So, like an amateur Astronomer once said to a self professed comet hunter attending one of the large organized annual star parties, "it's a beautiful night, why are you not out there manning your scope and looking for a comet?".

 

RalphMeisterTigerMan



#34 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 02:54 PM

Comet Hyakutake was a marvelous sight for a few nights when it was close to the Earth.  I was able to observe Comet Hale-Bopp for an unusually long period of time, last seeing it from the Caribbean in early 1998. Comet Holmes was most certainly a unique comet.

 

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Attached Thumbnails

  • Comet C1996 B2 Hyakutake 3-23-96 CN.jpg
  • IMG_6886-001.JPG
  • Comet Holmes 80mm 500 2007-11-3.jpg

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#35 Exnihilo

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 03:23 PM

Comet Hyakutake was a marvelous sight for a few nights when it was close to the Earth.  I was able to observe Comet Hale-Bopp for an unusually long period of time, last seeing it from the Caribbean in early 1998. Comet Holmes was most certainly a unique comet.

 

Dave Mitsky

I think at its peak Hyakutake's tail was up to 40 degrees long.



#36 Subaru45

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 01:41 AM

Anyone else out there remember 1957, Comet Arend-Roland ? Was it as good as I remember it, or am I making it more than it really was because it was my first ? 



#37 BrooksObs

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 08:57 AM

Anyone else out there remember 1957, Comet Arend-Roland ? Was it as good as I remember it, or am I making it more than it really was because it was my first ? 

 

Yes, I recall Comet Arend-Roland, vividly. It was better than Hale-Bopp but not quite a rival of West. I also marveled at somewhat lesser Comet Mrkos which I closely followed, too. A-R was the comet with a "headlight" as the media termed its extraordinarily long, but short-lived, anomalous tail opposite the comet's 30-degree main tail. I followed it on numerous mild early spring evenings in April and May of that year, and likewise Comet Mrkos in August and September. Incidentally, A-R was the first brilliant comet since P/Halley that had been visible from the Northern Hemisphere in some 47 years and that made it quite a stir among the general public!

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 07 June 2018 - 09:01 AM.

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#38 Slartibartfast

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 10:25 AM

Indeed, P/Holmes was a really unique spectacle as comets go. I was alerted to its outburst within 8, or so, hours of the event's onset being first recognized as in progress. It was then still brightening, having reached 6th magnitude. When my first sighting came that very evening, the comet appeared like a new ordinary 3rd magnitude star to the naked eye and even with high powered binoculars and in spite of the bright moonlight. Telescopically (16" Dob) P/Holmes looked very much like a tiny, bright white planet with very sharply defined edges. Still, amazing as it looked, what I saw just a night or two later was one of the great observing experiences of my life!

 

As darkness came on that second night, I pointed my 16" Dob at the comet's position and loaded an eyepiece giving about 150x. What I beheld on looking into the instrument's eyepiece was almost beyond terms of description. The still fairly small, bright coma was simply filled with scores of minute twinkling little "stars" that, while faint even when at their brightest, were still modestly above my visual threshold! These little "twinkling stars" I took to likely be reflections off countless huge shareds of cometary ice, released simultaneously as the great outburst had begun. This idea was later well supported when a prominent JPL astronomer published a paper that indicated the outburst had resulted from a vast section of the comet's surface abruptly yet slowing lifted off the nucleus as a single mass, releasing vast quantities of fresh volatiles below. The mighty disruption of the comet's surface would have simultaneously liberated a cloud of countless other lesser great blocks of ice that would have reflected sunlight. The phenomenon was short-lived and was gone by the next night I looked.

 

BrooksObs 

BrooksObs, that sounds amazing!  Unfortunately, at the time I was using a somewhat inferior 4.5" dept. store telescope in light polluted skies, so i was not able to see any fine details.  I do remember it having the sharp defined edges, like a round, hazy egg-shaped patch.  What I would have given to have my 16" Dob that night!  For me, it's things like this that are amazing.  I don't need a "great comet" (though, it would be spectacular and I wouldn't pass it up), I think I'm fascinated by pretty much everything.



#39 starcanoe

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 10:48 AM

I think at its peak Hyakutake's tail was up to 40 degrees long.

 

At one of top handful of darkest sites east of the mighty Miss River...with decently young eyes....when the head of the comet was overhead....the tail went close enough to the horizon that it was hard to tell whether it was the end of the tail or fairly low elevation atmospheric extinction that was "ending" the tail....more like 70 plus for us there....


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#40 kksmith

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 03:04 AM

First comet I ever observed was Comet West in 75/76. Only reason I knew about it was through Sky & Telescope. Remember getting up early in the morning darkness to set up my 3" reflector, grab a pair of binoculars, and set out a lawn chair. I was 16. Next one I saw was Hale-Bopp which I showed to my girls. Seen nothing since, but only because I was in very looow Earth orbit - not paying attention to dark sky happenings.

 

Ken


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#41 Loren Gibson

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 07:07 AM

Comet West is my most vivid comet memory, probably even my most vivid memory of any astronomical sight, due to the length of tail, the obvious color difference (to my eyes, and I'm not as color sensitive as some with astronomical subjects) between the dust and gas tails, and the very bright nucleus. Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake were both very impressive and wonderful comets, but for me, they just didn't strike me as strongly as did Comet West.

 

I hope to see another great comet from a dark sky site (I have a couple nearby).

 

Loren



#42 wargrafix

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 01:01 PM

From my recollections, and memory of notes, when I was younger I had now started high school, and thanks to some early astronomy books I learned the importance of record taking. I lost my notes in renovations but I clearly remember.

Please indulge me you time

Hyutake
It was a Friday in march when I first spotted it from my home which was bortle 3-4 back then. Had no clue and saw this weird cloud which luminous. Coincidentally later that evening on the news there was information about the comets and where it could be seen. That whole night I remember watching the long streaming tail which that bright blob head.


The following evening, I rode to the nearby bird sanctuary which was a solid bortle 1. The tenuous tail extended over the length of half the sky
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#43 Richard Whalen

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 04:13 PM

West, Haytake and Hale Bopp were best for me. Hale Bopp was incredible from St. Georges Island with my Ceravolo HD 145. The nucleus detail and streamers were better visually than any image Ive ever seen of any comet. Triple shock waves etc.



#44 AD14EM2

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 11:29 AM

Ikeya-Seki was my first, I never will forget that one.  I had a little 50mm refractor at the time & using projection watched it as it got close to the sun. Cool stuff.


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#45 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 01:38 PM

West, Haytake and Hale Bopp were best for me. Hale Bopp was incredible from St. Georges Island with my Ceravolo HD 145. The nucleus detail and streamers were better visually than any image Ive ever seen of any comet. Triple shock waves etc.

An image of Comet Hale-Bopp's parabolic hoods or bow shock waves that I took through a 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain is posted at http://cs.astronomy....ets/407069.aspx

 

Dave Mitsky


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#46 BrooksObs

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 05:02 PM

If one looks carefully at brother Dave's image of Comet Hale-Bopp's interior coma you can just make out that the innermost spiral arc originates from a stumpy column exiting  the nucleus and aligned roughly with the upper right corner of the frame. Curving clockwise and passing sunward of the nucleus, it fades away about 180 degrees from its point of origin. Each of the successive arcs are sharply bounded at their exteriors and can be tracked further on the frame's right side. At the same time, the entire inner coma appears slightly lopsided in that direction. In the frame, he comet's orbital motion is carrying it from the upper right to lower left.

 

The nature of these features results from a single intensely active region on the comet's rotating nucleus. At sunrise each time the rotation brings the source region into sunlight it becomes active, expelling a geyser of vapor. At first rather weak, it grows in intensity as the comet's "day" goes on. The geyser remains active as the rotation carries it through the comet's midday and on until sunset, when the geyser once again becomes dormant.

 

Those particles emitted in the "morning" will continue receding at great velocity from the nucleus and by day's end will be situated much further from the nucleus than those released at "noon", or sunset, thus forming the offset arcs (formally called "hoods", of which I count 5, just as Dave notes). The rotation rate of the nucleus was fairly rapid and the arrangement of the arcs, or hoods, was seen to alter from night to night, as old ones were replaced by new. It was just our good fortune that for a short time we were viewing the nucleus nearly pole-on so that this phenomenon projected flat against the sky, so beautifully presenting it to us. It happened in conjunction with Bennett back in 1970 as well.

 

If one searches the internet, there are compiled images (looking like time-lapse) dramatically illustrating multiple rotation cycles of the comet's nucleus. Therein you can watch new arcs form, expand and dissipate! 

 

BrooksObs   


Edited by BrooksObs, 10 June 2018 - 05:27 PM.

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#47 EricTheCat

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 08:09 PM

Comet Holmes certainly was unique.  The night of the actual outburst, not knowing anything was going on, I was taking images of the moon.  Only to discover a flood of emails the next morning about the comets outburst.  Luckily I had a few other opportunities over the next few nights.  I made this rough composite showing how the comet changed position and size over the coming nights (10/25/2007, 10/29/2007, 11/2/2007).

 

CometHolmes-10-25-2007--10-29-2007--11-02-2007-15sec800ISOSS.jpg

 


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#48 stevecoe

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 04:41 AM

Howdy.

 

Here is a drawing of Comet Halley done from Australia.  It has the curved arcs near the core as mentioned.

 

Steve Coe

 

 

034-Comet Halley Drawing (Medium).jpg


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#49 smithrrlyr

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 03:43 PM

 

 

If one searches the internet, there are compiled images (looking like time-lapse) dramatically illustrating multiple rotation cycles of the comet's nucleus. Therein you can watch new arcs form, expand and dissipate! 

 

BrooksObs   

As I recall, it was Fred Whipple who focused renewed attention on these hoods in the 1970s, using drawings of Comet Donati made in 1858 to determine the rotation period of its nucleus to be 4.6 hours.  I imagine that G. P. Bond, who made some of the drawings that Whipple used, would have been pleased to learn that his observations would prove useful more than a century after they were made.  Another reason to keep careful watch of comets both great and not-so-great.



#50 BrooksObs

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 08:38 PM

It is most unfortunate that I lost my account with Photobucket a year, or so, ago when they went to a pay-only image storage site. Otherwise I would post a selection of very interesting drawings to this thread. I've seen something like six major comets displaying distinct hoods and fountains over the years, for which I made many detailed stipple and and reverse shading drawings. Some appeared years ago in volumes of The International Comet Quarterly, published out of Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory and a few were published in S&T as well.

 

Incidentally, I've seen the so-called "shadow of the nucleus" feature, too!

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 15 June 2018 - 08:45 PM.

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