back to article LOOK UP! Comet ISON could EXPLODE in our skies – astronomers

Comet ISON could break up into itty-bitty pieces long before it gets closer to the Sun, selfishly denying us all the opportunity to see it shine brightly in the night sky. The comet is currently visible in the predawn sky, but it may not be there for long if astroboffins from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Kaltern

    So soon to be Comet ISNOT?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      At least it's not heading towards us...... Like the one directly behind it!

    2. Ragarath

      You got up-voted because I liked it but should it not be ISOFF?

  2. i like crisps


    Truly am sorry for that :)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: "ON ME HEAD I SON"

      Erm sorry, you can't use term iSON as the lawyers at Apple have already trademarked it, expect a cease and and desist letter shortly.

  3. Scott Broukell

    Extended warranty

    Don't worry there's still time to take out an extended warranty plan and have it replaced 'new for old' in the event that your super fast lump of rock and ice does fragment unexpectedly. What's that .... wrong Comet, doh!

  4. John H Woods Silver badge

    Can we stop ...

    ... calling it Comet ISON? It's a bit like calling something Comet NASA. I'm pretty sure the International Scientific Optical Network is going to spot another one one day. Let's have a new media-friendly name for C2012/S1 or Nevski–Novichonok please --- I suggest maybe "Nev-Nov", which is even more appropriate given the month of its perihelion.


    1. Red Bren

      Re: Can we stop ...

      It looks like the person who named it ISON has down-voted you!

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Can we stop ...

        I suppose some journo must have seen C2012/S1 (ISON) written down and thought the contents of the brackets was the unofficial name rather than the source of the designation.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can we stop ... @Red Bren

        "It looks like the person who named it ISON has down-voted you!"

        Nope - I'm not an astronomer. It was for getting the proper name wrong, and complaining about using one name related to the discoverer (whether device/org/person,) while using another as if it's on a par with the IAU designation.

        Your downvote is for going beyond harping on about getting them yourself and doing on behalf of other people.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: Can we stop ...

      That's OK, I love the media statement spurring hope, that the comet may be reacting to increased solar wind from a CME.

      In spite of a dearth of CME activity of late in that direction.

      The best of late that Sol has been doing has been the usual coronal holes, with their higher winds that are predictable in their comings and goings around any region of space and a handful of x-ray events.

  5. Thecowking

    I predict

    Heavy clouds and a lack of visibility in the British Isles until this comet expires.

    We wouldn't want to be able to see an astronomical event would we? Oh no, we're British which is why my telescope sits sadly in a corner while the rain and clouds cover any and all interesting things that might happen in the skies.

    Bitter? Me?

    1. Captain DaFt

      Re: I predict

      "Heavy clouds and a lack of visibility in the British Isles until this comet expires."

      Same here, cloudy, rain, early morning fogs, moonlight, it's like someone doesn't want me to see it!

    2. Shrimpling
      Thumb Up

      Re: I predict

      "Heavy clouds and a lack of visibility in the British Isles"

      We call this Winter

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: I predict

        "Heavy clouds and a lack of visibility in the British Isles"

        We call this Winter

        Summer is similar, but shorter.

    3. D@v3

      Re: cloud cover

      one of these days, the thick cloud that surrounds this land will part, and we will look up and see the heavens in all their expansiveness, and on that day (being the xenophobic bunch that we are) we shall proclaim...

      'It's got to go...'

    4. Steven Roper

      Re: I predict

      You think you have the right to complain?

      It's summer here in Australia, and while it's cloudy today we've generally been getting clear skies. But of course it doesn't matter how clear our skies get since the damn thing will be at its best only as it passes right over the BLOODY NORTH POLE meaning we'll only get to see it low in our northern skies for a couple of days as it emerges from behind the Sun and starts to brighten up!

      You complain about a few clouds? Bah! We've got thousands of miles of rock and magma blocking our bloody view!

      Oh well. Back to swanking over our Magellanic Clouds I guess...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comet Information

    As of 1 PM PST, the comet is about twice as close to the Sun as the Earth.

    You can see this information and a great deal more that will help you track the comet at:

    Be sure to tell the site where you are and what time it is so that the observation data refers to YOUR skies.

  7. Jamie Jones Silver badge


    I read that as JSON :-(

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ISON, ISOFF, ISON, ISOFF, I wish they'd make up their minds!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF

      I hereby rename this comet to "WAX"...

  9. P Saunders

    what ever happens don't look at the sky

    and also avoid those weird plants at the bottom of the garden

  10. Mark 85 Silver badge


    Doubtful as we all know those "wings" aren't what they say they are, but guidance nozzles guiding the ship to it's landing zone... er... target. Mine's the one made of unobtainium.

  11. Michael H.F. Wilkinson


    I have spotted ISON a week or so ago, not much to look at through my 15x70 binoculars, but nice to have seen. Solid grey cloud ever since, so any brightening or fragmentation well hidden here in the Netherlands. I did spot comet Lovejoy in Leo, and it is very nice indeed through binoculars. Comet C/2012 X1 was visible too, but only just in my big binoculars,but alas I missed Encke. Still three out of four reasonably bright comets in one (early) morning session is great.

    Now we hear Comet Nevski (also in Leo) has brightened and should be visible in small telescopes or big binoculars, but of course, clouds block the view (the Netherlands is every bit as bad as the UK).

  12. captainwiggins48

    If ISON behaves like Comet West it will break apart during perihelion and light up the pre-dawn sky as it rises before the sun. I could still see West's nucleus at 11 am next to the sun. However, that was a one day event. It faded rapidly as it receded from the sun.

  13. Mike Flex

    "denying us all the opportunity to see it shine brightly in the night sky"

    Night sky? At the end of last year we were being told that we could watch it in the daytime sky. 15 times brighter than the moon, we were told. Stock up on weedkiller and all that.

    The reality turns out to be the Sky at Night showing us an unimpressive smudge shot with a 14" reflector. Clearly the sunglasses can stay packed away until next summer.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022