APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep 04)

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APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep 04)

Post by APOD Robot » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:06 am

Image Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring

Explanation: On October 19th, a good place to watch Comet Siding Spring will be from Mars. Then, this inbound visitor (C/2013 A1) to the inner solar system, discovered in January 2013 by Robert McNaught at Australia's Siding Spring Observatory, will pass within 132,000 kilometers of the Red Planet. That's a near miss, equivalent to just over 1/3 the Earth-Moon distance. Great views of the comet for denizens of planet Earth's southern hemisphere are possible now, though. This telescopic snapshot from August 29 captured the comet's whitish coma and arcing dust tail sweeping through southern skies. The fabulous field of view includes, the Small Magellanic Cloud and globular star clusters 47 Tucanae (right) and NGC 362 (upper left). Worried about all those spacecraft in Martian orbit? Streaking dust particles from the comet could pose a danger and controllers plan to position Mars orbiters on the opposite side of the planet during the comet's close flyby.

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by Keyman » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:31 pm

I suppose this isn't something that would have come up in the original mission plans for any of these projects. :wink:

In the six weeks that are left before closest approach, does anybody know the odds that the current path is sufficiently...variable...that it might get closer? I don't suppose the orbital calculations will be too far off, but possibly some out-gassing might cause some change?

And I'm just awe-struck to think that we're actually in a position to have human-made objects in a place to make these kind of observations.

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by sunlight » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:13 pm

I wonder what's making the comet make that turn!

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:31 pm

Keyman wrote:In the six weeks that are left before closest approach, does anybody know the odds that the current path is sufficiently...variable...that it might get closer? I don't suppose the orbital calculations will be too far off, but possibly some out-gassing might cause some change?
Outgassing has a negligible short term effect on the orbit of a comet. The position of this object over the next months is certain to a very high degree.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by ta152h0 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:20 pm

Would it be possible to manipulate this image and superimpose a disk representing Mars at the correct scale on this image at closest point predicted...........and ruin this picture .......
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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by Ron-Astro Pharmacist » Thu Sep 04, 2014 9:19 pm

It is a fabulous field of view. Amazing that one could get something so close and multiple other things so much farther away in the same photograph. The perspective is quite dramatic. I'd be beaming brighter than Betelgeuse if I had that ability. Nice job Rolando! The timing was spectacular. :clap:
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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by Diana » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:08 pm

I wonder if will be possible for the controllers to flip any of those orbiter's or rover's cameras about to see this comet and its tail zooming by.

Diana

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by starsurfer » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:31 am

What I love most about this image is the representation of different distance scales! It includes something very close in the Solar System, globular clusters within the Milky Way and then another galaxy with its own clusters and nebulae.

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by RocketRon » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:39 am

"and controllers plan to position Mars orbiters on the opposite side of the planet during the comet's close flyby."

Just how do the controller manipulate the orbiters to be 'on the opposite side of Mars' during the flyby ?
Short of boosting or slowing their orbits, these would be somewhat fixed and set ??

RocketRon

Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by RocketRon » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:46 am

Diana wrote:I wonder if will be possible for the controllers to flip any of those orbiter's or rover's cameras about to see this comet and its tail zooming by.
Indeed. It will be disappointing if they don't at least try.
Sounds like the best seats in the cometary viewing grandstands ever... ?

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by BMAONE23 » Fri Sep 05, 2014 5:26 pm

It would be a truely amazing thing to see first hand. like if the comet were instead at this distance (100,000 K) from Earth rather than Mars

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Re: APOD: Cloud, Clusters and Comet Siding Spring (2014 Sep

Post by bystander » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:15 am

Diana wrote:I wonder if will be possible for the controllers to flip any of those orbiter's or rover's cameras about to see this comet and its tail zooming by.

Diana

MAVEN Mars Orbiter Ideally Poised to Uniquely Map Comet Siding Spring Composition
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