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back to article NASA deep space probe sends back video of 'Comet of the Century'

NASA's Deep Impact probe has sent back images of comet Ison as it heads inexorably towards a close fly-past of the Sun later this year. The spacecraft snapped the comet from a whopping 793 million kilometres with its Medium-Resolution Imager over a 36-hour period on 17 and 18 January, allowing NASA to stitch together this time- …

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Swift-Tuttle was okay though. I think it was that one in the early 90s. Visible with the naked eye as having two tails.

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Swift-Tuttle was in the early nineties but the one with two tails was Hale-Bopp in 1997. Hale-Bopp was a lot more impressive than Swift-Tuttle to this observer.

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Anonymous Coward

Hale-Bopp was so impressive that a bunch wackos decided to remove themselves from the gene pool.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven%27s_Gate_%28religious_group%29

Hopefully there wont be to many idiots with this one.

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Happy

I would have thought that the more that remove themselves the better it is for the future of mankind.

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> but the one with two tails was Hale-Bopp in 1997

Ah, my mistake then. I thought I had the year right but obviously not. I'm very good at time but anything more than a month ago gets a bit hazy :)

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"Hopefully there wont be to many idiots with this one."

By all means, let them go ahead and off themselves. It's not like there's an impending shortage of idiots, and there'd be no need for an "endangered species"-like protection status anyway.

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Pint

Bennett's Comet - I saw it in March 1970, even better.

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Joke

Hence the saying 'Gordon Bennett, a comet!'

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Alien

re: Hale-Bopp and Heaven's Gate

Actually, that whole episode turned out to have been a big misunderstanding.

Apparently, the cult was right about aliens coming to take them off of Earth, but the cult members misheard the message. They thought the aliens were saying "wait for the comet Hale-Bopp", when the actual message was "wait for the comment 'Hail Bob!' "

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Huh ?

Comets are coming, the idiots are already here ...

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Facepalm

Re: "Hopefully there wont be to many idiots with this one."

On 28 November, Ison will pass within 1.8 million kilometres of the Sun, coming to within 64 million kilometres of Earth on 26 December.

I'm inclined to think that the crackpots will be in raptures.

All aboard for another pop at the second coming.

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Re: bunch wackos decided to remove themselves from the gene pool.

I don't mind when idiots remove themselves from the gene pool. It's only when they forcibly take someone else with them that I get upset.

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Joke

I just hope...

They've got Bruce Willis and a couple of tac-nukes on stand-by...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I just hope...

Bruce Willis is an old man now - I don't think he'd be much good up there.

Unless you were just looking to get rid of him, in which case I can think of plenty of people to keep him company!

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Re: I just hope...

Not watched "Space Cowboys" then?!

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jai
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Re: I just hope...

Kevin Smith and his pool toy would be far more effective!

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Re: I just hope...

> Bruce Willis is an old man now

If Bruce is too old, then perhaps Joseph Gordon-Levitt can stand in for him?

http://tinyurl.com/5u2ydb8

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Alert

Re: I just hope...

Shirly Shirn Connery ish the man for the job?

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Coat

Bring it on ISON

I've spent about 10 hours trying to work out how to motorise my granddads old Victorian Carver reflector so I can get early tracking views of this one only to discover its cheaper to buy a new one!

Can I be first to say I'll get me Wainscoat?

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Happy

Re: Bring it on ISON

You have a waistcoat made from oak panels?? Very cyberpunk. Does it have turned brass buttons?

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jai
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poor FX

that looks like a scene from the worst of cheap B-Movies from the 40s!!!!

surely NASA can do better than that, at least some kind of post-processing to clear up the noise on the images.

Or are they afraid that presenting a too-clean image will incite everyone to claim it's as fake as the moon landings?

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Paris Hilton

Re: poor FX

It's maybe a 10 year old digital camera connected to a computer from the 90s, trained on a radically far, small and dim target.

If you expect it to look any better, it's your ignorance talking.

Can NASA make it look better? Yes, for barrels and barrels of money, by sending a new, purpose-built probe to the object in question.

Instead they did the fiscally responsible thing; use an asset they have that still works to get pictures good enough to be useful.

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FAIL

Re: poor FX

>Instead they did the fiscally responsible thing;

Only because they are forced too after blowing $100 billion on a space station they can't even get to on their own. A fool tends to be thrifty after he is parted from his money.

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Re: poor FX

Ah, you got us. We actually just used an outtake from George Méliès's Journey to the Moon and we hoped no-one would notice.

Our sincerest apologies,

NASA.

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Re: poor FX

"Only because they are forced too after blowing $100 billion on a space station they can't even get to on their own. A fool tends to be thrifty after he is parted from his money."

The HSF program is mandated from on high (Congress) and explicitly designed to cost a lot without looking too cool.

Can't piss on them for that.

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Re: poor FX

I won't argue that Congress totally f__ked up our Space Program like most of the other things they have touched but NASA was pushing for the ISS also and its management didn't put up much of a fight to Congress on anything.

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jai
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Re: poor FX

Can NASA make it look better? Yes, for barrels and barrels of money

while my original comment was made somewhat tongue in cheek, what i meant was, couldn't they run the video through a filter to remove all the noise and speckles? that wouldn't cost barrels and barrels of money, i'm sure something as simple and free as iMovie can both remove camera shake and despeckle the video image.

it's like they left all that in, to purposely make it look like it was a poor video sent from the middle of space.

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Stop

I'm guessing that silver badge was given out of sheer pity.

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Cloud cover....

I'd imagine the comet to be travelling slowly enough that we might get more than a few hours to view it, so clouds should break eventually - and if it's at the full predicted brightness it'll probably show up even in daylight.

Having said that I'm now doomed.

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Re: Cloud cover....

Closest approach to the sun is in November and apparently it might remain visible until January. If that's so it ought to give even us in the UK a chance to see it.

Of course nobody knows if it will just get burnt up by the sun yet, so closest approach might be final approach too.

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Asteroid 2012 DA14

Gonna pass us less then 25,000km away, 9 days and counting.

Too late to send Bruce up.

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Alien

Was anybody else...

...expecting to see a plastic spaceship "fly" past on a wire while watching that video?

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Re: Was anybody else...

It really needed a theramin soundtrack.

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Re: Was anybody else...

HAIL MING!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Was anybody else...

... Expecting to see Hello Kitty up there!

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Alert

Pun warning

A bright comet would be the Ison on cake for me this year

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Gimp

Re: Pun warning

May I say how much I appreciate and thank you for your most unconventional, yet thoughtful, icon selection.

<staggers away groaning and whimpering but grateful to have survived>

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Coat

I thought...

Comet had already gone bust!

I'll close it quietly behind me.

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Meh

Misleading

Well I watched this 'dirty snowball' video'and I must say, it wasn't what I was expecting.

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Can't wait

"so spectacular that it may achieve a brightness of an apparent magnitude of -16, which would greatly outshine the brightest Moon"

Looking forward to that, if only so I can point up at it and mutter ominously "that's no moon..."

If only it were due to happen on May the 4th...

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Looks like sci-fi tv from the 50's

Love it :)

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Facepalm

Jesus!

That's gotta be your most contrived shoehorning of a Windows 8 diss into a article that has nothing to do with it yet!

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Mushroom

.....Ison was shaping up to be "potentially spectacular"

Even more spectacular when it lands in the Pacific.

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"...as we previously put it..."

"so spectacular that it may achieve a brightness of an apparent magnitude of -16, which would greatly outshine the brightest Moon", as we previously put it...

...or, as the Drudge Report will put it:

IT'S COMING RIGHT FOR US!!!

...in 72-point bold, with a still from the movie Deep Impact of the giant asteroid plowing into the Earth.

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Hale-Bopp was pretty awesome...

...even though it wasn't nearly as bright as the Moon. Still, I do recall it being as bright as Venus, if not just a hair brighter. It was certainly a great excuse to go sit out on the front stoop and drink a beer after dinner in the evening.

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Boffin

Names have been changed to protect the innocent...

It took me ages to find any up-to-date information on Deep Impact until I discovered that once its primary mission was over, they changed the mission name to EPOXI.

This is the website that is most relevent now: http://epoxi.umd.edu/.

I don't think the page http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/deepimpact/index.cfm quoted in the article has been updated much since the end of the primary mission.

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Headmaster

It is not Comet Ison.

Comets are named after the astronomers who discovered them, so it should be called Comet Nevski-Novichonok. ISON is the name of the group of observatories which Nevski and Novichonok used to find the comet.

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