Comet 2

New Comet: C/2015 F2 (POLONIA)

BET nr. 4083, issued on 2015, March 26, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~17) by R. Reszelewski, M. Kusiak, M. Gedek and M. Zolnowski on CCD images taken on 2015, March 23 with a remote-controlled 0.1-m f/5 astrograph of the Polonia Observatory at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, in the course of their comet-search program. The new comet has been designated C/2015 F2 (POLONIA).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 14 unfiltered exposures, 30 seconds each, obtained remotely on 2015, March 23.8 from Q62 (iTelescope network - Siding Spring) through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD, shows that this object is a comet with ill-defined central condensation surrounded by diffuse irregular coma 15" in diameter.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
© Remanzacco Observatory
M.P.E.C. 2015-F120 assigns the following preliminary parabolic orbital elements to comet C/2015 F2: T 2015 Apr. 28.77; e= 1.0; Peri. = 351.97; q = 1.21; Incl.= 28.87


Massive asteroid on course to 'narrowly miss' the Earth

© Unknown
Asterid 2014-YB35 is due to skim earth in late March
A mammoth asteroid measuring 1,000-metre wide in on course to narrowly miss Earth within days, NASA predicts.

The object called '2014-YB35' is predicted to skim the Earth on Friday travelling at more than 23,000 mph in space.

It is not unusual for small meteorites to pass close by, however one of this size is a very rare occurrence and poses a very real threat, an expert told the Express.

Any impact would trigger devastating changes in the climate, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Comment: Interesting timing!

World's largest asteroid impact zone believed uncovered by ANU researchers in central Australia

Fireball 2

Icy snowball comet theory takes another hit - the "impossible" dunes of Comet 67P

The comet 67P has provided an avalanche of astonishing discoveries that may puzzle scientists for years to come. And one problem that will simply not go away is the seemingly impossible dunes, or dune-like ripples at the comet's neck. At its first observation, the feature drew virtual gasps of disbelief from scientists and science media. More recent, close-up images of the "impossible" dunes have only deepened the mystery. How does the electric universe explaining this baffling feature?

Comment: The only thing more astonishing is how desperately mainstream science clings to its original conceptions about comet composition, despite all the evidence coming in from Rosetta and other comet probes. What is behind their apparent refusal to give any credence to the Electric Universe theory, even though it provides simple, elegant explanations for cometary observations?

Comet 2

Newly discovered comet whizzed by the sun, surprising astronomers

NASA has captured the unexpected trajectory of a comet in a 15-second space video as it whizzed around the sun within 2.2 million miles (3.54 million km) of its blazing hot surface.

Discovered by NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), Comet 2,875 is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it is not part of any known family of comets. Most comets seen by SOHO belong to the Kreutz family - a single comet that breaks into smaller comets the closer they moved towards the sun. Secondly, most comets that come close to the sun, called sungrazers, do not survive as they are evaporated by the intense heat. The action of comet 2,875 was caught on February 18 - 21.

Comet 2

Stray 'icy' comet comes out of nowhere to surive close brush with Sun

Astronomers are puzzling over a comet that passed "insanely close" to the sun on Feb. 19th. At first glance it appeared to be a small object, not much bigger than a comet-boulder, doomed to disintegrate in the fierce heat. Instead, it has emerged apparently intact and is actually brightening as it recedes from the sun.

Unofficially, the icy visitor is being called "SOHO-2875," because it is SOHO's 2,875th comet discovery.

Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab explains what's odd about SOHO-2875: "It's a 'non-group comet,' meaning that it does not appear to be related to any other comet or comet family that we have on record."

Comment: How many more times do they have to witness this before they realize the electric nature of ROCKY comets???

Comets are just electrically-glowing asteroids!!!

In addition, a cometary body's size is a relatively insignificant factor in determining how brightly it will shine, and when and where it will shine.

Comet 2

Comet Finlay surprise outburst, visible in binoculars ... again!

© Michael Mattiazzo
Comet Finlay’s up to its old shenanigans again. Here we see it in outburst with a bright, compact head and a half-degree-long tail pointing northeast on Friday, January 16th.
Lost sleep at night, fingers tapping on the keyboard by day. Darn comets are keeping me busy! But of course that's a good problem. Comet 15P/Finlay, which had been languishing in the western sky at dusk at magnitude +10, has suddenly come to life ... for a second time.

Two nights ago, Australian comet observer Michael Mattiazzo took a routine picture of Finlay and discovered it at magnitude +8. Today it's a magnitude brighter and now joins Comet Lovejoy as the second binocular comet of 2015. Comet-wise, we've gone from zero to 60 and the new year's fewer than 3 weeks old!


Incoming! Mars pockmarked by over 400 recent meteor impact craters

Impact crater on Mars.
The surface of Mars is a well worn place in the Solar System, heavily pounded by countless meteor impacts. And some of these craters are hundreds of millions of years old. So it's unusual for there to be a completely fresh impact on the surface of Mars: but that's just what NASA scientists discovered looking through a recent batch of images returned from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

You're looking at an image taken by the Mars Context Camera, an instrument on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. In an older photograph taken of the region in February 2012, there was just a bunch of old craters. And then, in the newer image, taken June 2014, this fresh scar on the surface of Mars is clearly visible.

Comment: The only reason we haven't seen over 400 recent impact craters on Earth too is because our planet's dense atmosphere, which Mars doesn't have, is decimating the space rocks currently pelting our planet. At least, it is for now:

A Puzzling Collapse of Earth's Cooling Upper Atmosphere

Earth's magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster now

Comet 2

Green comet 'Lovejoy' lights up the New Year sky

© The Independent, UK
The comet Lovejoy is set to light up the skies and excite many a stargazer over the first week of the New Year as it reaches its closest point to Earth.

The comet, formerly known as C/2014 Q2, is named after amateur Australian astronomer Terry Lovejoy and was discovered in August.

The comet has been growing more visible in recent weeks to those living in the Southern Hempishere and Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the comet will reach its nearest position to Earth on January 7, a distance of about 70.2 million kilometres away. Thus, the green-glowing comet will be visible to those in the Northern Hemisphere.


Comet Finlay in bright outburst, visible in small telescopes

© J. Cerny, M. Masek, K. Honkova, J. Jurysek, J. Ebr, P. Kubanek, M. Prouza, M. Jelinek
Comet Finlay on December 16th shows a bright coma and short tail. Its sudden rise to 9th magnitude was confirmed on December 18th by Australian comet observer Paul Camilleri. The moderately condensed object is about 3 arc minutes in diameter.
Short-period comet 15P/Finlay, which had been plunking along at a dim magnitude +11, has suddenly brightened in the past couple days to +8.7, bright enough to see in 10×50 or larger binoculars. Czech comet observer Jakub Cerny and his team photographed the comet on December 16th and discovered the sudden surge. Wonderful news!

While comets generally brighten as they approach the Sun and fade as they depart, any one of them can undergo a sudden outburst in brightness. You can find Finlay right now low in the southwestern sky at nightfall near the planet Mars. While outbursts are common, astronomers still aren't certain what causes them. It's thought that sub-surface ices, warmed by the comet's approach to the Sun, expand until the pressure becomes so great they shatter the ice above, sending large fragments flying and exposing fresh new ice. Sunlight gets to work vaporizing both the newly exposed vents and aerial shrapnel. Large quantities of dust trapped in the ice are released and glow brightly in the Sun's light, causing the comet to quickly brighten.

Some comets flare up dramatically. Take 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann. Normally a dim bulb at 17th magnitude, once or twice a year it flares to magnitude 12 and occasionally 10!

Comet 2

New Comet: P/2014 X1 (ELENIN)

CBET nr. 4034, issued on 2014, December 14, announces the discovery of a comet (magnitude ~18) by Leonid Elenin on three CCD images taken on 2014, December 12 with a 0.4-m f/3 astrograph at the ISON-NM Observatory near Mayhill, NM, USA. The new comet has been designated P/2014 X1 (ELENIN).

We performed follow-up measurements of this object, while it was still on the neocp. Stacking of 10 unfiltered exposures, 120-sec each, obtained remotely on 2014, December 12.4 from H06 (iTelescope network - Mayhill) through a 0.43-m f/6.8 astrograph + CCD + f/4.5 focal reducer, under bad seeing conditions, shows that this object is slightly diffuse with FWHM about 20% - 30% wider than that of nearby field stars of similar brightness.

Our confirmation image (click on it for a bigger version)
© Remanzacco Observatory
M.P.E.C. 2014-X66 (including pre-discovery Pan-STARRS1 and Mount Lemmon observations, found by G. V. Williams in the MPC archive from September and October) assigns the following elliptical orbital elements to comet P/2014 X1: T 2015 Jan. 7.74; e= 0.71; Peri. = 34.36; q = 1.81; Incl.= 25.97

Congrats to Leonid for the discovery of his third comet!