The first set of imaging is by veteran comet hunter Terry Lovejoy — who has discovered 6 comets. He knows his stuff & his forte is astrophotography. His pictures show that one fragment has brightened noticeably. This could be because it is getting ever closer to the Sun and as such continuing to become more ‘active’ — i.e., ‘evaporate’ giving out gases.
The comet has definitely fragmented. Of that there is no doubt or debate. The ‘orange’ Hubble picture shows 4-fragments and JPL (2nd image) already lists 5.
As the orbital diagram shows the ‘comet’ — or to be more precise — the fragments are still a longways out and we are moving away.
The fragments may be bright, but they are SMALL. So naked-eye visibility is questionable.
This Latest Interstellar Comet, 2I/Borisov, Is By NO Means The Only Comet To Spew Cyanide Gas. Quite Common!
Yes, everybody is trying to cash in on this Interstellar Comet — supposedly the second we have discovered (albeit, both in the last 2-years). When I saw the headlines about cyanide it made me smile. I knew that cyanide was not uncommon in comets.
Recall Halley’s comet that comes around every 75-76 years. In the early 20th century there was a scare that folks would die from the cyanide that was emanating from its tail. Well nobody did.
So, please don’t get excited about this cyanide. It will NOT kill you or anybody else.
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I will grant that this new comet, C/2019 Q4 (Borisov), does have more of an intriguing orbital path than did C/2017 U1.
But, I am not willing to RUSH to the conclusion that it is interstellar — i.e., it did NOT originate in our own Oort cloud. Still very early days. That it is travelling too fast to be bound to the Sun is interesting.
All I am saying, for now, is don’t rush to a conclusion. Let’s study this puppy a bit more.
Definitely not going to be GREAT comet. It will be very far from the Sun. Twice as far as the Earth is to the Sun. So, unlikely that it will be very bright or sport a spectacular tail.
Just wanted to keep YOU in the loop. But, stay tuned.
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Definitely extremely interesting and intriguing. Wow. Orbital eccentricity of 1.1922! The greatest we have ever seen — the keywords here being ‘ever seen’. Comet ISON, that crashed and burned on Thanksgiving Day 2013 had an eccentricity of 1.0000015.
But, here is the deal with eccentricity. Anything over 1.0 means that the object will eventually leave our Solar System. That we know. But, what we cannot tell as yet is WHEN A/2017 U1 got that highly eccentric orbit. We just do NOT know — as yet. And maybe never will.
To claim that it must have originated OUTSIDE of our Solar System — is speculative. We do NOT have enough evidence.
NASA/JPL’s official statement confirms that: “So far, everything indicates this is likely an interstellar object, but more data would help to confirm it.” Note the ‘likely‘ and the part about ‘more data … for confirmation‘. That is exactly MY POINT and what I am trying to impress.
The claim that its orbit was NOT influenced by a close encounter with a planet — typically one of the BIG ones — is speculative. It could have been majorly torqued around by Uranus or Neptune. We don’t know.
I have a druthers that this is a very old comet — a periodic one at that, which on its last trip out, maybe 400 years ago got too close to a gas giant and had its orbit turned ‘upside down’.
We don’t know.
All I am stressing is do NOT jump to conclusions.
We know so little about what has happened in OUR Solar System and what is happening right now.
But, it is exciting.
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It is a Main-Belt Asteroid and as such is always outside the orbit of Mars.
The 342843 is a sequence number, in that it is the 342,843rd confirmed ‘Minor Planet’ to have been discovered, Ceres (now a Dwarf Planet) having the honor of being the 1st, i.e., 1 Ceres. Pluto now that it is a dwarf is numbered 134340.
The name is optional and is initially put forward by the discoverer of the asteroid.
As of today 701,660 ‘Minor Planets’ have been catalogued as having been discovered. 19,712 of them, just a mere 2%, are named. Here is the list. So to have an asteroid named after you is, of course, special, BUT not that exclusive.
The ‘Beatles’ collectively and individually have asteroids named after them, viz. 8749 Beatles, 4147 Lennon, 4148 McCartney, 4149 Harrison & 4150 Starr. Some of the others include Carlos Santana, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Mike Oldfield, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Bee Gees, Buddy Holly etc. etc. Here is a list.
So David, as is due, has been honored as a ‘spaceman’.
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by Anura Guruge
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Danny Fleming, a mathematician and astronomer gave me a heads up, via e-mail, on this. Thank YOU, Danny.
2012 TC4, as the ‘2012’ in its designation denotes, was discovered in October 2012 though it is POSSIBLE that it has been around for quite some time — though maybe not in its current, very near-Earth orbit.
It is an ‘Apollo’ class asteroid (named after the prototype asteroid in this group). Apollos, in their relentless orbit around the Sun, crosses the Earth’s orbit — twice.
Well 2012 TC4 crossed the Earth’s orbit in October 12, 2012 coming quite close to Earth. At their closest they were 58,900 miles apart. That is 1/5 the average distance between the Earth and the Moon (what we call the ‘Lunar Distance‘ (LD)). The LD as such as 0.247 LD.
5 years later, again, coincidentally on the exact date, i.e., October 12, it will get within 0.034 LD of the Earth. That is nearly 7 times closer. Yes, it could get within 8,400 miles from us. That is close.
At that distance there is a very good chance that Earth’s (fairly strong) gravitational pull will capture it and pull it in. In which case WE will get SMACKED. Thought to be about 30 yards across it is NOT a huge asteroid, not large enough to annihilate all of us. But that is still plenty big enough to wreak quite a bit of destruction, especially if it lands near a city.
Not much we can do. It is not like the Earth can duck out of the way.
This orbital chart, using the JPL Small Body Database Browser,
shows that 2012 TC4 ends up right on top of us.