The Public Broadcasting System (PBS) will be airing "Comet Encounter" This
Wednesday evening (11-20-2013) at 10pm est.
About the Program
Comets have fascinated, even terrified us for thousands of years. For scientists though, comets are a great opportunity. This year, 2013, a particularly massive chunk of ice and rock is coming our way, an object that will fascinate billions and should create the space show of the century.
Right now Comet ISON, somewhere between one and 10 kilometers in diameter, is just beyond the orbit of Jupiter
. As it races past us toward the sun it should develop a tail that will light up the skies brighter than a full moon. Then the comet will slingshot around the back of the sun and could emerge brighter than ever, treating the entire northern hemisphere to an unforgettable sight.
In this program, scientists all over the world follow a once-in-a-lifetime event and shoot breathtaking images, spewing its essence into the void. But there is jeopardy too; the comet could evaporate completely or the sun's massive gravity could tear it apart. If the latter happens it will produce a so-called "string of pearls," several much smaller comets arching right across the night sky
Source: Comet Encounter | PBS
I hope the program isn't as dated as the promo byline and becomes more accurate as we approach the close encounter with the Sun on Thanksgiving day the 28th. ISON is now within the orbit of Venus and approaching Mercury.
Interactive Source: Comet ISON Model
This is nitpicking, but with the real time astronomy programs I'm using, ISON will only be viewable in the early morning sky here in the Northern Hemisphere; to the southeast before November 28th and towards the Northeast/North after the 28th.
I can understand the generalization, but using "the night sky
" at the end of the quote implies to the novice that one could go out after their T-Day supper and see it when that is not the case.
The enthusiast should use real time programs to check the location and time for possible viewing opportunities.
From the "I don't like it, but it is a sign of the times" department.
If the source link to Comet Encounter doesn't pick up on your location and station by interpreting your IP address you can click on PBS below the menu bar that will then take you to the main site where above the menu bar you will see a link to change stations by using your postal zip code or regional area.
Also take note of a new development with the PBS site. It doesn't like it if you use any type of private browsing and will throw up nag screens to warn you. I clicked on one OK ten times before it finally allowed me to continue, and I wasn't using private browsing at the time. (FF25.0.1).
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I just found out about a free app called Comet Watch available for the iPhone or iPad. Updated by the minute, the app promises to point users in the direction of ISON, whose location can change quickly.
Source: Comet Watch-Powered by Distant Suns | itunes.apple.com
Well, not that quickly.
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Must be my night for nitpicking...
and a small rant, but am I the only one to notice the carelessness in the use of verbal communication skills lately?
I'll be the first to admit that I probably have a dozen errors in this post, but I've been noticing it more and more with the "Fourth Estate