back to article Comet ISON perhaps NOT GARBAGE after all - glows GREEN in latest snaps

The highly anticipated Comet ISON, which earlier this month was dubbed not "visually pleasing" by the NASA astroboffins who snapped it with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has had its portrait taken again as it wends its way towards its rendezvous with the Sun. The result this time was far more impressive. Comet ISON (Credit …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Martin Budden Bronze badge

    Wouldn't it be awesome if it ends up looking like that photo when seen with the naked eye!

    (unlikely, but I can be optimistic if I want)

    1. Benchops

      If my admittedly bad memory serves me right, Hale-Bopp didn't look dis-similar. A definite head and (short) tail, so long as you looked long enough for your eyes to become slightly dark-adapted (half a minute would do).

      1. ridley

        Half a minute will do little ot nothing, far too short a time.

        With Hale Bopp if you were in a dark place and got dark adjusted ie at least an HOUR without any extraneous light (no lighting up, no looking at your phone etc) then you could really see it, and the tail extended across almost half the sky.....

        (I was out taking photos of Hale Bopp one night and my eyes became so dark adjusted that I could see the lights from planes at cruising altitude on the ground, your eyes really are amazing)

  2. Paul J Turner


    One day it's green lights in the sky, the next you're all blind and becoming compost for triffids.

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: OhOh

      Or maybe those of us who had the sense to hide in steel shelters will be battling the zombies that are all that remain of the human race ;-)

      1. Benchops

        Re: OhOh

        The zombies had better look out for the carniverous walking plants first! Or the heat-ray equipped tripods. or both.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: OhOh

          Why's no-one done a Triffids vs. Zombies film? Thinks: Which side to cheer for?

          Personally I think the Triffids win hands down. Or I guess stumps down, given their anatomy.

          1. itzman

            Re: OhOh

            snakes triffids zombies AND a predator, all on a plane!

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Comet Halley in 1986, a dud?

    It was a great display in the southern hemisphere, especially atop Falls Creek ski resort at 3 in the morning.


  4. Captain DaFt

    Comet West, the forgotten one

    After all the press and sensationalism about Comet Kohoutek proved an embarrassment, the mainstream press blithely ignored Comet West in 1976, although it was easily visible in March of that year in the Northern Hemisphere.

    1. Rob Telford

      Re: Comet West, the forgotten one

      At least Kohoutek got a song written about it by R.E.M., rather a fine one too :-)

    2. captainwiggins48

      Re: Comet West, the forgotten one

      My brother and I arose at 3am to see comet West on or about March 1. It had a 30 degree bright, multi-rayed tail as it rose in the east ahead of the sun. When the nucleus became visible, it looked tiny and extremely bright. As the sunlight increased the tail slowly faded but the nucleus remained visible well after sunrise. At 11 am it was still clearly visible as a tiny 'star' next to the sun. As far as I know I'm the only person on Earth who saw comet West during that day or (with my brother) during the early morning hours. Apparently it broke apart during its encounter with the sun which made it so bright, but its flare-up only lasted one day. Regarding comet ISON, be ready. If it breaks apart also you may only get one chance to see it.

  5. WhoaWhoa

    "ISON's green glow may be due to the presence of carbon molecules"

    but is more likely due to a little Photoshopping of an otherwise almost monochrome dot-pattern sky-picture.

    1. The Axe

      Global warming - another cause

      OMG! Think of all that extra carbon landing in Earth's atmosphere when it passes through the remains of the tail. The world will heat up to temperatures of 1000°C. /sarc

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Green because of Photoshop?

      Not at all, long exposures show colour in comets, usually green, just like all those pretty red or blue nebulae which are also monochrome to our insensitive eyes.

      There will have been some photoshopping or other processing to increase the contrast but not to add colour.

  6. Gary Heard

    Or, considering it's going to be late November/ early December, it will be magnificent, but we Brits will have 14 days of complete cloud cover and miss it all

  7. Tom_

    Quality Mistake

    "discovered last by amateur Russian astronomers "

    Poor things. :)

  8. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I have a perfect method of prediction

    I'm not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. I have a foolproof method of telling whether the comet will be spectacular or not.

    If the weather in Britain is bloody awful, and the skies are permanently cloudy, then the comet will be amazingly spectacular - and so bright it would be visible in daylight. If the weather in Britain is nice, it'll be a flop.

    Now I've done my bit, it's up to someone else to do the easy bit, and predict the British weather.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: I have a perfect method of prediction

      I live in North Wales.

      Weather prediction here is straight forward enough unless you want to know "How much?"

  9. The last doughnut


    Why is it being called "ISON" and not "Ison"? Or even "iSon"

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Spelling?

      iSon? Because it has rounded corners.

      If it didn't it would be a cube, and we should all be more worried.

      1. Just_this_guy

        Re: Spelling?

        I thought it was called that because the comet IS ON its way..?

        Getting my coat now.

      2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

        Re: Spelling?

        If it didn't it would be a cube, and we should all be more worried.

        What, you mean like the oldest galaxy ever spotted, as recently reported here on el Reg? (see 2nd pic)

    2. TheRealRoland

      Re: Spelling?

      This particular comet is named after the array of scopes that discovered it. The International Scientific Optical Network.

  10. Thecowking

    Really hoping that this is a good comet

    And as stated above that the weather will cooperate. I really want to have a good reason to stand out in the cold with my telescope and look at it.

    Her indoors can't object if it's a once in a lifetime comet instead of just Mars, which admittedly is always kicking around, or about to be. I still like looking at it though.

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: Really hoping that this is a good comet

      A couple of days ago, someone used his Canon 7D to make 44 1-minute exposures, stacked them, and voila - ISON visible next to Regulus and Venus

      1. Thecowking

        Re: Really hoping that this is a good comet

        Hmm, if there was any chance of clear skies, I'd have a look tonight.

        I have been meaning to try my new camera out.

  11. miszczu

    Comet ISON on its path to Sun

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can you guys stop calling scientists "boffins"? It's ridiculous and discredits your writing.

    1. Just_this_guy

      Re: boffins?

      I'm not sure you CAN actually discredit El Reg...

    2. Rik Myslewski

      Re: boffins?

      Just FYI: from the New Oxford American Dictionary:

      boffin |ˈbäfin|

      noun — informal, chiefly Brit.

      a person engaged in scientific or technical research: a computer boffin.

      • a person with knowledge or a skill considered to be complex, arcane, and difficult: he had a reputation as a tax boffin, a learned lawyer.


      boffiny — adjective


      World War II: of unknown origin.


      And from the Oxford Thesaurus of English:



      Brit. informal: they wore the white coats of the back-room boffin: EXPERT, specialist, authority, genius, mastermind; SCIENTIST, technician, researcher, inventor; informal: egghead, brains, Einstein, whizz, wizard; Brit. informal: brainbox, clever clogs; N. Amer. informal: maven, rocket scientist, brainiac.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: boffins?


        We are doing it!

  13. Paratrooping Parrot

    I still remember comet Hyakutake which filled a large proportion of the night sky. It was amazing.

    1. Just_this_guy

      And it was a fun name to say. Not like yer modern comets, here one month, gone the next. I remember when this was all (star)fields.

  14. poopypants


    ISON's green glow may be due to the presence of carbon molecules (click to enlarge...

    I knew technology was improving in leaps and bounds, but this is an incredible breakthrough!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why it's green

    Incorrect movie references earlier.

    It's the Loc-Nar.

    1. Tom 13

      Re: It's the Loc-Nar.

      It can't be.

      She doesn't have beautiful eyes.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019