APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 17)

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APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 17)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:09 am

Image The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught

Explanation: Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, grew a spectacularly long and filamentary tail. The magnificent tail spread across the sky and was visible for several days to Southern Hemisphere observers just after sunset. The amazing tail showed its greatest extent on long-duration, wide-angle camera exposures. During some times, just the tail itself [url=http://spaceweather.com/comets/gallery_mcnaught_page11.htm" was visible just above the horizon for many northern observers as well. Comet McNaught, <a href="http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/icq/CometMags.html#2006P1]estimated[/url] to attain a peak brightness of magnitude -5 (minus five), was caught by the comet's discoverer in the above image just after sunset in January 2007 from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Comet McNaught, the brightest comet in decades, then faded as it moved further into southern skies and away from the Sun and Earth. Within the next two weeks of 2013, rapidly brightening Comet ISON might sprout a tail that rivals even Comet McNaught.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Beyond » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:28 am

Even though I'm no Astronomer, I would say that the tail, in "just the tail" link, is rather un-bright, although it does show up well against the background.
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by stephen63 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:54 am

Beyond wrote:Even though I'm no Astronomer, I would say that the tail, in "just the tail" link, is rather un-bright, although it does show up well against the background.
Its quite an interesting fuzzy.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Coil_Smoke » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:20 am

There is so much going on in this image. I am trying to visualize the orbit of Comet McNaught. The comet appears to be moving towards the sun in this photo. I believe McNaught was actually leaving the sun at the time the photo was taken. I know the comet's tail is 'blown' away from the sun. The arc of the tail makes it appear the comet is headed towards the sun but it also looks to be headed past the sun, not circling behind it. Is there an animation of Comet McNaught's trip through the inner solar system some where on the web :?:

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Case » Sun Nov 17, 2013 8:33 am

Coil_Smoke wrote:Is there an animation of Comet McNaught's trip through the inner solar system some where on the web?
Perhaps http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/orbits/, but the site seemed to be off-line when I just tried it.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Boomer12k » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:19 pm

That is awesome!

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:50 pm

Coil_Smoke wrote:There is so much going on in this image. I am trying to visualize the orbit of Comet McNaught. The comet appears to be moving towards the sun in this photo. I believe McNaught was actually leaving the sun at the time the photo was taken. I know the comet's tail is 'blown' away from the sun. The arc of the tail makes it appear the comet is headed towards the sun but it also looks to be headed past the sun, not circling behind it. Is there an animation of Comet McNaught's trip through the inner solar system some where on the web :?:
Based on the simulation in Stellarium, I believe this image was taken on 20-Jan-2007 (give or take a day), with the comet moving away from both the Sun and the Earth, in a predominantly southwards direction. Looks like the comet orbit was highly inclined to the Ecliptic. The comet was closest to Earth around the 15th at about 0.82 AU (3 days after its perihelion).

This image is a beauty. I especially like the juxtaposition with the native Xanthorrhoea in the foreground.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by neufer » Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:15 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
This image is a beauty. I especially like the juxtaposition with the native Xanthorrhoea in the foreground.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthorrhoea wrote:
<<Xanthorrhoea is important to the Aboriginal people who live where it grows. The flowering spike makes the perfect fishing spear. It is also soaked in water and the nectar from the flowers gives a sweet tasting drink.

In the bush the flowers are used as a compass. This is because flowers on the warmer, sunnier side of the spike (usually the north facing side) often open before the flowers on the cooler side facing away from the sun.

The resin from Xanthorrhoea plants is used in spear-making and is an invaluable adhesive for Aboriginal people, often used to patch up leaky coolamons (water-containers) and even yidaki (didgeridoos).>>
Last edited by neufer on Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:35 am

Nitpicker wrote:Based on the simulation in Stellarium, I believe this image was taken on 20-Jan-2007 (give or take a day)
Ahem. But you don't have to believe me. :oops:

Based on Mr McNaught's own notes in the "above image" caption link:
http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~rmn/C2006P1new.htm
C/2006 P1 on Jan 20, 10:46 UT. Photo: R. H. McNaught, Siding Spring Observatory. Canon 5D, 50mm, f/2.0, 50 sec exp., ISO 640

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20 January 2007

Post by neufer » Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:01 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pole_of_inaccessibility#Southern_pole_of_inaccessibility wrote:

<<The southern pole of inaccessibility is the point on the Antarctic continent most distant from the Southern Ocean. The southern pole of inaccessibility is far more remote and difficult to reach than the geographic South Pole. On 14 December 1958, the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition for International Geophysical Year research work, led by Yevgeny Tolstikov, established the temporary Pole of Inaccessibility Station (Polyus Nedostupnosti) at 82°06′S 54°58′E. A second Russian team returned there in 1967. Today, a building still remains at this location, marked by a bust of Vladimir Lenin that faces towards Moscow, and protected as a historical site. Inside the building, there is a golden visitors' book for those who make it to the site to sign.

On 4 December 2006, Team N2i, consisting of Henry Cookson, Rupert Longsdon, Rory Sweet and Paul Landry, embarked on an expedition to be the first to reach the historic pole of inaccessibility location without direct mechanical assistance, using a combination of traditional man hauling and kite skiing. The team reached the old abandoned station on 20 January 2007, rediscovering the forgotten statue of Lenin left there by the Soviets some 48 years previously. The team found that only the bust on top of the building remained visible; the rest was buried under the snow. The explorers were picked up from the spot by a plane from Vostok base to Progress Base and taken back to Cape Town on the Akademik Fyodorov, a Russian polar research vessel.>>
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:22 am

And whilst the bust of Lenin and Team N2i may have enjoyed a continual, circumpolar view of the comet from that location on that day, it would have been diminished by the Sun, also circumpolar in the Summer, and only ~20&deg; below the comet. If these "sporting expeditions" like Team N2i want to be taken seriously by the Starship Asterisk*, they should go to the poles of inaccessibility in Winter (and take their astrophotography gear with them). :wink:

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The southern pole of inaccessibility or bust

Post by neufer » Mon Nov 18, 2013 3:50 am

Nitpicker wrote:
And whilst the bust of Lenin and Team N2i may have enjoyed a continual, circumpolar view of the comet from that location on that day, it would have been diminished by the Sun, also circumpolar in the Summer, and only ~20&deg; below the comet. If these "sporting expeditions" like Team N2i want to be taken seriously by the Starship Asterisk*, they should go to the poles of inaccessibility in Winter (and take their astrophotography gear with them). :wink:
At least it wasn't a complete bust.
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Beyond » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:49 am

Image
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:38 am

neufer wrote:At least it wasn't a complete bust.
:roll: Looks like a complete bust to me: (I like to imagine that the original "3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition" team were pressured to take a full-body bronze statue, but sanity prevailed.)

Anyway, quite a nice bit of Soviet history in the heart of (mostly unrecognised) Australian territory. I think even officially, the Russians are welcome to that station.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by neufer » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:07 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
Anyway, quite a nice bit of Soviet history in the heart of (mostly unrecognised) Australian territory. I think even officially, the Russians are welcome to that station.
  • Ah yes, Enderby Land.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enderby_Land wrote:
<<Claimed as part of the Australian Antarctic Territory, Enderby Land is a projecting land mass of Antarctica, extending from Shinnan Glacier at about 67°55′S 44°38′E to William Scoresby Bay at 67°24′S 59°34′E. It was discovered in February 1831 by John Biscoe in the whaling brig Tula, and named after the Enderby Brothers of London, owners of the Tula, who encouraged their captains to combine exploration with sealing. Samuel Enderby & Sons was a whaling and sealing company based in London, England, founded circa 1775 by Samuel Enderby (1717–1797). In 1773 Enderby began the Southern Fishery, a whaling firm with ships registered in London and Boston. All of the captains and harpooners were American loyalists. The vessels transported finished goods to the American colonists, and brought whale oil back from New England to England. Some of Enderby's ships were chartered for the tea cargoes that were ultimately dumped into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party incident.>>
If I ever come across tea from Enderby Land I plan to dump it in Boston Bay :!:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Antarctic_Territory#Whaling wrote:
<<Whaling in Australian Antarctic territorial waters is controversial and has received international attention. Sea Shepherd small boat crews have had multiple encounters with Japanese ships that claim to be on research expeditions while opponents argue this is only a "cover" for banned commercial whaling. The Australian Whale Sanctuary, in Australian Antarctic territory, is not recognised by the government of Japan. Anti-whaling legislation passed by the Australian Government applies to Australian territorial waters, however Australia's claims of sovereignty over the Australian Antarctic Territory—and thus sovereignty over Australian Antarctic territorial waters—are recognised by only four countries, not including Japan.>>
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:02 am

Neufer, John Biscoe may have been a loyalist, but he looks like Atticus Finch's grandfather in that photo. (And if we was a loyalist, he was about half a century too late.)

Edit: not an American loyalist anyway ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Biscoe
Biscoe (28 June 1794 – 1843) was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England. During March 1812, aged seventeen, he joined the Royal Navy and served during the 1812–1815 war against the United States. By the time of his discharge in 1815, he had become a justice Master. Thereafter he sailed on board merchant shipping as a mate or master ...
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:03 am

From:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moby-Dick
Captain Boomer

Captain of the Samuel Enderby of London, Ahab encounters him at sea. Boomer has not only seen Moby Dick recently, but lost his arm to him in a previous attack. Like Ahab, he has replaced the missing limb with a prosthesis made of sperm whale bone. Ahab immediately assumes he has found a kindred spirit in his thirst for vengeance, but Boomer is yet another representation of the duality to be found throughout the novel; in this instance, a sane and rational counterpart to Ahab. While Boomer also anthropomorphizes Moby Dick, describing the "boiling rage" the whale seemed to be in when Boomer attempted to capture him, he has easily come to terms with losing his arm, and harbors no ill-will against Moby Dick, advising Ahab "he's best left alone". The Enderby's doctor provides solid reasoning for this attitude, informing the gathering:

Do you know, gentlemen, that the digestive organs of the whale are so inscrutably constructed by Divine Providence, that it is quite impossible for him to completely digest even a man's arm? And he knows it too. So that what you take for the White Whale's malice is only his awkwardness. For he never means to swallow a single limb; he only thinks to terrify by feints..

—Moby-Dick, Ch. 100


Boomer jokingly tells a long yarn about the loss of his arm; this attitude, coupled with a lack of urgency in telling where he sighted Moby Dick, infuriates Ahab, leading Boomer to query, "Is your captain crazy?" Ahab immediately quits the Enderby and is so hasty in his return to the Pequod that he cracks and splinters his whalebone leg, then further damages it in admonishing the helmsman. While appearing to be whole, the leg is badly damaged and cannot be trusted; it now serves as metaphor for its wearer.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by neufer » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:31 am

  • Captain Boomer :!:
I thought Boomer's rank was: :---[===] *[/size]
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by geckzilla » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:41 am

Colon dash dash dash open bracket equals equals equals close bracket space asterisk was too long.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by neufer » Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:50 am

geckzilla wrote:
Colon dash dash dash open bracket equals equals equals close bracket space asterisk was too long.
So he lost the extra appendage to Moby Geck :?:
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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by geckzilla » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:05 am

Yes, once I discovered it was actually an ascii drawing and not something slightly more clever.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Tue Nov 19, 2013 8:12 am

My telescope is bigger than Boomer's, but it needs collimating:

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by neufer » Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:01 pm

Image
Nitpicker wrote:
My telescope is bigger than Boomer's, but it needs collimating:

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by Nitpicker » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:11 pm

I tried her, but was left disappointed. Lassie is a Rough Collie, mate!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rough_Collie

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Re: APOD: The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught (2013 Nov 1

Post by neufer » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:35 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
I tried her, but was left disappointed. Lassie is a Rough Collie, mate!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rough_Collie
But the long hair was necessary to hide the fact that Lassie is a male dog.
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