Nov 292013
 
English: Comet Siding Spring (C/2007 Q3) as im...

English: Comet Siding Spring (C/2007 Q3) as imaged in the infrared by the WISE space telescope. The images was taken January 10, 2010 when the comet was 2.5AU from the Sun. Text article: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/WISE/multimedia/pia12830-a.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

While Comet ISON fizzled its way around the Sun and failed to deliver its previously forecasted sky show, we have a few new space friends making their way towards us in the coming 6 months:

Comet 209P/Linear (closest approach to the Sun – May 6, 2014) – This is reported to possibly be trailing a large meteor shower behind it which may deliver 100-400 meteors/hour through Earth’s atmosphere. The comet will pass 0.0554 AU or 5,150,000 miles from the Earth.

Comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring)  (arrival Oct 25, 2014) – According to JPL estimates, this comet will pass within 75,000 miles from Mars and poses a potential threat to hardware in Mars orbit.

Asteroid 2003 QQ47 – Arrival March 21, 2014

Dec 082012
 
The orbit of the comet of 1680, fit to a parab...

The orbit of the comet of 1680, fit to a parabola, as shown in Isaac Newton’s Principia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A comet discovered on September 21, 2012 by two Russian astronomers hasn’t made the major news outlets yet but it will soon enough. Comet ISON is on its way to bring us a sky show that could be the one of the most memorable since 1680. Gradually increasing in brightness, it will become visible to users with small telescopes or binoculars by August 2013 and visible to the naked eye by late October/early November. It will stay visible in the sky until January 2014 and may actually be brighter then the moon itself. It is not on a trajectory with earth but will pass with 1 degree of the sun. More to come on this later.

 

Dec 082012
 
Planets of the Solar System

Planets of the Solar System (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A mysteriously speeding object whipping through the solar system has caused some initial concern but has now been identified as the elusive Pons-Gambert Comet (aka C/2012 V4). It has been spotted speeding past Mars on a trajectory that will put it near the sun before it speeds out of site and away from us. This is the first time the comet has been seen since 1827. It should be visible to viewers on December 11th in the Southeastern portion of the U.S. with a brightness magnitude between 9.0 to 9.5 but its trajectory is low to the horizon and may be hard to see. It is measuring 5.4KM in size (3.4 miles) and will pass behind the sun and will not come close to Earth.

 

Mar 102012
 
Artist's rendition of Earth's magnetosphere.

Image via Wikipedia

The sun has fired another blast directly at Earth. A class M8.4 solar X-ray flare just was just sent hurling in our direction at 12:44 PM (EST) today from sunspot (AR1429) again . This is a major flare that is just a couple of points short of an X-Class flare and it is directly facing Earth so we will feel it with full force. Our magnetosphere is already stressed from the recent barrage and this can’t make things any better. The chance of a strong geomagnetic storm is probable. This post will be updated as more details are determined. Sometime during the morning of March 12, a strong (K7 or higher) geomagnetic storm will arrive in the form of a magnetic cloud resulting from the full halo CME generated on March 9.