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David Reyes
David Reyes


The comet's nearest approach to the Sun, or perihelion, won't be until September 28, 2024, before hitting its closest point to Earth a few weeks later on October 13, so you've got plenty of time to get your blanket and telescopes organized.


At its closest point to Earth, the comet's magnitude could reach an even more dazzling -0.2, which would make it one of the brightest objects in the night sky. Add in the effects of forward scattering, where the dust and ice of the comet reflects the light from the Sun, and we might even reach a -5 magnitude.

It's also worth bearing in mind that comet brightness is more diffuse than star brightness, as we're talking about a moving object with (potentially) a tail, rather than a single source of illumination.

As a result, it gets both institute names in its own name ("tsuchinshan" is Mandarin for "purple mountain"). The C is used for comets on an open trajectory (likely to escape the Sun's orbit), 2023 is the discovery year, and A3 shows this was the third discovery in the first half of January (B is the second half of January, C the first half of February, and so on).

Stargazers should start to get good sightings of the comet in June 2024, though there's a lot of (educated) guesswork involved here: these celestial objects can be unpredictable in the way their paths develop, and scientists know little about this comet's properties.

While the chances are good that we'll see C/2023 A3 shining bright in the sky next year, there's not much in the way of comparable comet data to base calculations on. As such, astronomers can't even say with certainty if the poor old ball of rock and ice will stay intact long enough to make its appointment with the Sun.

ESA's Rosetta mission chased down Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for ten years. The comet is a regular visitor to the inner Solar System, orbiting the Sun once every 6.5 years between the orbits of Jupiter and Earth.

Like all comets, Churyumov-Gerasimenko is named after its discoverers. It was first observed in 1969, when several astronomers from Kiev visited the Alma-Ata Astrophysical Institute in Kazakhstan to conduct a survey of comets.

On 20 September, Klim Churyumov was examining a photograph of comet 32P/Comas Solá, taken by Svetlana Gerasimenko, when he noticed another comet-like object. After returning to Kiev, he studied the plate very carefully and eventually realised that they had indeed discovered a new comet.

Rosetta's task was to rendezvous with the comet while it still lingers in the cold regions of the Solar System, about 3.5 AU from the Sun, and to deploy a lander to reveal in close-up detail exactly what the surface looks like.

Ground-based observations indicated that, if the activity of 67P was consistent from orbit to orbit, then Rosetta would return images of an active nucleus when it rendezvoused with the comet. Over the following year, as the comet approached the Sun, Rosetta mapped its surface and studied changes in its activity. As its ices evaporated, instruments on board the orbiter studied the dust and gas particles that surround the comet and trail behind it as streaming tails, as well as their interaction with the solar wind.

All of Comet's NFS and Lustre filesystems are acccessible via the Globus endpoint xsede#comet. The servers also mount Gordon's filesystems, so the mount points are a different for each system. The following table shows the mount points on the data mover nodes (that are the backend for xsede#comet and xsede#gordon).

Comets are mostly found way out in the solar system. Some exist in a wide disk beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. We call these short-period comets. They take less than 200 years to orbit the Sun.

Other comets live in the Oort Cloud, the sphere-shaped, outer edge of the solar system that is about 50 times farther away from the Sun than the Kuiper Belt. These are called long-period comets because they take much longer to orbit the Sun. The comet with the longest known orbit takes more than 250,000 years to make just one trip around the Sun!

The gravity of a planet or star can pull comets from their homes in the Kuiper Belt or Oort Cloud. This tug can redirect a comet toward the Sun. The paths of these redirected comets look like long, stretched ovals.

As the comet is pulled faster and faster toward the Sun, it swings around behind the Sun, then heads back toward where it came from. Some comets dive right into the Sun, never to be seen again. When the comet is in the inner solar system, either coming or going, that's when we may see it in our skies.

But when a comet gets close to the Sun, it starts heating up. Eventually, the ice begins to turn to gas. This can also cause jets of gas to burst out of the comet, bringing dust with it. The gas and dust create a huge, fuzzy cloud around the nucleus called the coma.

When astronomers look closely, they find that comets actually have two separate tails. One looks white and is made of dust. This dust tail traces a broad, gently curving path behind the comet. The other tail is bluish and is made up of electrically charged gas molecules, or ions. The ion tail always points directly away from the Sun.

People have been interested in comets for thousands of years. But it wasn't possible to get a good view of a comet nucleus from Earth since it is shrouded by the gas and dust of the coma. In recent years, though, several spacecraft have had the chance to study comets up close.

Rosetta, a mission of the European Space Agency that had several NASA instruments onboard, studied Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta dropped a lander on the nucleus, then orbited the comet for two years. Rosetta detected building blocks of life on this comet, too. And images showed Comet 67P to be a rugged object with lots of activity shaping its surface.

I just realized I never reviewed these. I had these a year ago, unfortuntely they were stolen from me when I left them in the breakroom at work. Although, I went in to campfire audio in Portland, and listened to their whole line up in 2019, out of everything, the comet, the atlas, the adromeda, and the solaris were the most impressive. I fell in love with the solaris, and purchased a pair, my wife loved the comet, and we got a bstock model while we were at it, and both those iems were amazing. Eventually I will get us both comets again, and I may consider the solaris 2020 or whatever is next after we buy ourselves a house first!

As ice-cold comets shoot across the night sky, a dusting of light trails behind them. This was the inspiration for a motif of dusted white flakes against a cool, light grey background. Comet evokes a feeling of wonder and curiosity, like that of the Grecians who gave it its name.

Just weeks before the historic encounter of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) with Mars in October 2014, NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft entered orbit around the Red Planet.

Two NASA and one European spacecraft that obtained the first up-close observations of a comet flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, have gathered new information about the basic properties of the comet's nucleus and directly detected the effects on the Martian atmosphere.

Gas and dust in the comet's nucleus and coma often separate into two parts of the comet's tail. A comet's dust tail is the trail of dust and gas illuminated by the Sun. It is blown away from the comet's coma by the solar wind, and follows the curve of the comet's orbit.

When comets are traveling through the outer solar system, they are frozen and do not have tails. Far away and extremely small, they are almost impossible to detect. As they approach the Sun in the inner solar system, radiation from the Sun turns some comet materials like water ice into a gas. As gases leave the nucleus, they carry comet dust with them.

The surface of a comet's nucleus is often dry, dusty, rocky, and dark. Dark materials may contain organic compounds, the chemical building blocks of life. When a comet absorbs heat from the Sun, the nucleus releases water ice and frozen gases.

Sometimes, dazzling jets of gas can erupt from inside the nucleus when the Sun heats some parts of its surface more than others. That can cause the nucleus to spin or even break up into smaller pieces. Such events can change a comet's trajectory and, ultimately, its fate.

The coma of a comet is made largely of water and dust. When a comet approaches the Sun, it warms up. Heat from the Sun changes the comet's icy materials to gases. The comet releases these gases, forming the coma.

When a comet is about the same distance from the Sun as Mars (about 1.5 AU), its coma can shrink, even though it is producing more gas as it warms. That's because the solar wind becomes forceful enough to push more coma material into the tail, making the tail a lot bigger.

Gas in a comet becomes ionized when ultraviolet radiation from the Sun interacts with the comet's gases. A comet's ion tail is usually blue in color due to the gas molecules that make it up. Ionized gas gets blown away from the coma by the solar wind. A comet's ion tail always points away from the Sun.

Of particular interest were comets that had been observed over at least several orbits of the Sun, and which were known to be fairly active. Ideally, they had to follow orbital paths near the ecliptic plane, so that a rendezvous, prolonged survey and landing would be easier to achieve. Furthermore, the comet's flight into the inner Solar System had to coincide with the mission timeline of Rosetta, so that they both arrived in the right place at the right time for the historic rendezvous. 041b061a72


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