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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Just to whet your appetite...

Given the approaches of Comet PanSTARRS late next month and Comet ISON in the late Fall, I thought I'd give you a couple of pictures of the Great Comets we in the Northern Hemisphere essentially missed: last year's Comet Lovejoy, and 2007's Comet McNaught, respectively. Note that both of these daylight comets were photographed at dusk:




And here is an incredible video of Lovejoy- a sun-grazer, like Comet ISON- surviving its close encounter with our nearest star:



Meanwhile, for those of you who have either forgotten or somehow missed them, here, respectively, are shots of the last two Great Comets visible at their peak in the Northern Hemisphere, Comets Hyukatake (1996) and Hale-Bopp (1997).




And here is an article on the Great Comet of 1680, whose orbit is similar to ISON's.

There is no telling, of course, what PanSTARRS or ISON will actually look like. One or both might even be duds, like Comet Kohoutek (1973) or Comet Austin (1990). But these pictures will give you an idea of what might be in store.

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