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back to article Basically RUBBISH 'COMET of the Century' ISON snapped by HiRISE in Mars orbit

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling high above the red planet has taken a break from its normal assignment of staring down at the ochre world beneath to get some snaps of Comet ISON as it passes by en route to the inner solar system. Not going to set the world on fire. Or even the sky Despite the fact that the orbiter …

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Joke

Aliens

I bet the aliens got startled by discovering something that started to look at their actions. So much for sneaking up on the MRO :)

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Comet of the Century

If it's a bit of a dud let's hope it ISN'T the comet of the century.

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I'm told it's going to be around 1.7 Kohouteks.

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Anonymous Coward

No Ice, No Coma

Looks like the held an I.ce S.ale O.n N.eptune; no Ice, no Coma

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Coat

"the image isn't visually pleasing"

When one of my photography subjects complains like above, my answer is there's only so much a photographer can do.

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However...

It may not be too spectacular an image but it's absolutely bloody brilliant that we have taken these images from a spacecraft, orbiting another world.

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Re: However...

Well said fella.

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Re: However...

A useful dress rehearsal for Comet Siding Spring a year from now.

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And here, the weather for the UK.

Clouds, followed by fog, mist, more clouds. Possibility of zero visibility due to clouds.

Meanwhile, the rest of the fucking planet will have glorious clear sky.....

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Re: And here, the weather for the UK.

LOL. Where I live we average 315+ days of sunshine (not a cloud in the sky all day) a year and like less than 8 inches of precip a year. Of course the UK doesn't have to deal with 3 solid months above 40C or it at times reaching in the high 40sC. No snow ever is nice though.

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Boffin

Re: And here, the weather for the UK.

Yeah, being an optical astronomer in the UK is in intensely disappointing experience. Might I recommend the Cloud Appreciation Society instead? That's largely the reason that radio astronomy had its origins in this country, as it can be done pretty much in any weather conditions.

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Happy

Intrinsically Brighter?

If it is being made brighter by light from the sun reflecting off its ice then it isn't intrinsically brighter now is it? It may become more intrinsically reflective but not brighter.

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Re: Intrinsically Brighter?

Smart comment, that one ;-)

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Coat

Makes no difference if you're in the UK

It will be cloudy when it passes.

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The media always hype this stuff

Every year we get some breathless pundit squealing with delight about a meteor shower with words like "fantasic", "spectacular" and whatever superlatives still have some life (if not credibillity) left in them. The same goes for comets, eclipses, conjuctions andall the rest. One budding journo picks up as astronomical announcement and exudes awe about it - that's picked up by another who embellishes the first's work - then another with more exaggeration and finally it hits the TV and we're all exhorted to view this "sight of the century" (which seems to occer every few years).

Almost all of them are a damp squib.

Whether that's because the uncertainy and qualifications that the original bulletin contain get left out for reasons of making the news "public friendly", or astronomers genuinely thought it would turn out better. However in the UK the main reasons seem to be the weather, the light pollution and TV presenters (and their script writers) who have no concept at all - none whatsoever - about how bright, or dim all of these events are.

We were "promised" a comet earlier this year - FAIL! Sure: it turned up on time, but it was a huge disappointment. Same goes for all theother ones since Halley, 25 years ago. Maybe the media should learn their lesson and just let it all go - though then they'd probably be inundated by calls from scared and ignorant viewers about "strange lights inthe sky". You can't win.

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Re: The media always hype this stuff

I would blame the popular media for getting your expectations up... when they were talking about ISON on the Sky at Night earlier in the year they made a point of saying they didn't know what it would look like when it got here and were only hoping it would be a good one due to how close it was going to get to the Sun.

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Re: The media always hype this stuff

"Same goes for all the other ones since Hailey"

Hmmm, if I remember correctly Halley's comet was a bit of a damp squib.

However Hale Bopp in 1995/96 was a different story. As Wikipedia says Hale Bopp "was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the Great Comet of 1811." I remember spending many a long night taking pictures of that one, get your eyes dark adjusted and it nearly spanned the entire sky. Pretty and pretty damned impressive.

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Re: The media always hype this stuff

Pete 2, don't agree with you.

Earlier this year there was PanStarrs, easily visible with the make eye, the tail visible with a simple 7x50 pair of binos. using my camera and a 500mm zoom lens, I was able to make OK photos of it, with little effort.

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Gav

Re: The media always hype this stuff

You call this hype?

Where's the speculation about it striking Earth? Where's the speculation about if it did strike Earth, which part of America would it hit?

I demand some hysteria and a straight-to-DVD movie !

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Re: The media always hype this stuff

Halebopp was a good one, back in 1996

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NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter ... has taken a break from its normal assignment

Is that because as a government employee, the MRO is no longer being paid, and is spending some leisure time gazing into space instead of doing any real work?

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Scrabble...

Ratfinks...volatilizes is a word in the scrabble dictionary........

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Re: Scrabble...

But you have to ask if it should be a word... Damn American verbization of everything!

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Facepalm

ISON = ISOFF

Based on this research looks like the comet won't be around much longer ...

http://astronomia.udea.edu.co/cometspage/

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Boffin

Re: ISON = ISOFF

That is one ugly web page. I haven't seen the likes of that since the days when we were all impressed by Netscape Navigator 4.

Icon: eye protection required!

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Coffee/keyboard

I resent this!

Stop looking at my old spacecraft with your "naked eye" thanks

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Facepalm

comet of the century.

I doubt the boffins ever claimed that and considering we're not quite 13% of the way through the current century[*], it's a bit early to call anything the "something" of the century. You need to wait 'till the century is over before compiling a "Best of....evah!" list.

[*] We all know the 21st century started in 2001, unlike the meeja.

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What are you getting, at?

ISON. What gives?

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Your Stunning Ignorance

Allow me to help ease your obvious ignorance: the HiRISE camera was not designed to take pictures of anything other than Mars, usually pointing straight down. Capturing the image of a passing comet, especially one that is rather faint, 12 million kilometers away and not very large, could never yield the kind of image that Hubble can. And the only people who billed it as the "Comet of the Century" was the media, so you have only yourselves to blame.

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Angel

Would it be more interesting if..

... it turned out to be tea-pot shaped?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell's_teapot

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