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Joe, the photo appears to have been digitally enlarged in addition to the telescopic magnification. I suspect those anomalies were single pixels before digital enlargement. If so, they were probably just camera defects.
On second thought, you may be right about an invasion. That would seem to be the more likely possibility. Let's hope they come to serve man. Unless they are so gauche as to prefer us with ketchup.
JPL has recently changed the magnitude parameters for C/2012 S1 (ISON). Peak brilliance at perihelion has been downgraded from -15.8 to -13.0. Perhaps someone put too much ketchup on it and it had to be removed.
The comet will only be especially bright when too close to the Sun to be observed by the masses. The media have become hyperbolic, as usual. Space.com is writing articles about how bright two comets will be this year. They do include a few caveats, but as might be expected, many readers only remember the superlatives. On various blogs they are talking about how night will become as bright as day. More conservative reporting would have allowed the public to become pleasantly surprised. Instead, they may become deflated.
I’ve updated my graphics for the comet to reflect the new magnitude estimates. They can be seen at: www.CurtRenz.com/comets
Post by Paulie pchris00 on Jan 30, 2013 18:14:51 GMT -6
I've already had a few people ask me about ISON. For a first time comet to get as much attention as it has just seems crazy. And even if the magnitude predictions hold out from this point on, it won't be in a dark sky. This comet has disappointment written all over it. Anybody remember Elenin? Me neither.
"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky." -Vanessa Carlton
I remember Hale Bopp. And Hyakutake. Both were bright - Hale Bopp especially. They lived up to expectations, but still probably only to astronomers. I know some people that were like, "Eh... that's it?" and I'm thinking, "UH YEAH.... HELLO!?!?!"
I think the problem is that we go through "bright comet droughts" for 10 - 15 years, and then when one (or two) comes along, the media go nuts. To me, a 3rd magnitude comet is bright. Anything above that is like.... well, ketchup on a hot dog! You know, just the right condiment for it to be "just right."
Potential 'Comet of the Century' Not Brightening as Expected.. t.co/W5Ai1MDu5H
@spacedotcom via @isonupdates
On March 6, John Bortle, a highly regarded amateur observer who has viewed hundreds of comets spanning over five decades, wrote this assessment of Comet ISON:
"The much hyped Comet ISON is not evolving in the fashion we had earlier anticipated. Rather than slowly but steadily gaining in brightness it has stagnated at basically near 16th magnitude for a couple of months now. After experiencing an interval where the coma's degree of condensation grew quite strong, the object threw out an unexpected strong but short tail that has persists right down to today. However, following this episode the coma subsequently faded, became less condensed and smaller, all bad signs regarding the "health" of the comet's nucleus. Whether ISON becomes a Great Comet next fall, or just another in a long string of Great Flops, is now much more a question.
Last Edit: Mar 26, 2013 8:06:17 GMT -6 by patrickm
I'm bumping up a Comet ISON thread that ran from January through August of this year to show that members of this message board were not responsible for the hype. Well done Chicago Skeptical Astronomers.