ISON Postmortem

After the flyby, death, apparent rebirth and finality of comet ISON scientist are declaring victory.

Due to the hype and the composition of ISON, it was one of the most widely viewed comets to pass through the solar system.  Telescopes and other instruments were trained on ISON to gather as much data as possible.

Even extra-terrestrial observations from the rovers and orbiters on and around Mars collected data on this first time visitor.  All the data collected is now being studied intently to help glean some insights to the formation of our solar system.

Some reports have already discussed the composition and make-up of ISON from spectrographic readings.  Thanks to Tom Field for the image above (anyone with a DSLR camera can take spectra like this using Tom’s software at www.rspec-astro.com).

Other scientists presented results from the comet’s last days at the 2013 Fall American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Calif.  They described how ISON lost mass before reaching perihelion and most likely broke up during its closest approach, as well as theorizing what this means for determining ISON’s composition.  Other researchers are analyzing the comet’s tail and comparing that with other comets to determine all the facts possible.

Although ISON didn’t live up to the hype, the comets plunge to its death around the Sun has still provided cometologists with plenty of data for years to come.  So a final farewell to comet ISON, we hardly knew you.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Today’s The Day…

For turkey and all the fix’uns.  If your into that sort of thing.

It is also the big reveal day for comet ISON.  Today we see if the Sun baked the little comet to a cosmic crispy critter, or if it survives to speed out of the Solar system.

Luckily for me, I will be at my observatory for the holiday weekend trying to once again image the “comet of the century.”  I’ll post what I can get.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Comet Capture Weekend.

Along with ISON there are three other comets in the night sky at the moment.

Comets 2012 1X LINEAR,  2P (Encke),  2011 W3 (Lovejoy), are sharing the sky this week with Comet ISON.

File:Coma Berenices constellation map.png

Comet X1 LINEAR currently sits in the constellation Coma Berenices at about 8.5 magnitude.  Too faint for anything but telescopes.  It is located near the stars Alpha Coma Berenices and Beta Coma Berenices.

Comet Encke’s is on its 62nd trip through the Solar system since being discovered in 1786. Encke also is our most frequent visitor of any comet passing by once every 3.3 years.

https://i0.wp.com/d1jqu7g1y74ds1.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Encke-20Oct-20Nov.jpg

Special Note: both ISON and Encke should be able to be photographed together in a wide field image around November 24th .

New Comet Lovejoy starts out slow but quickly gains speed as it crosses from near Orion in mid-September to Ursa Major in November, when it will be closest to Earth. Created with Chris Marriott's SkyMap software

Comet Lovejoy, like ISON, is a new discovery by Australian amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy (his 4th).  I always like to see the work of citizen scientists, now I get to image it!

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Another One Bites The Dust.

The Deep Impact Flyby spacecraft has been declared dead.

File:90855main dispcrft.svg

Alas, after nine years of space exploration that included an impact and subsequent flyby of comet 9P/Tempe, an additional comet flyby, approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects and history’s most traveled comet research mission (about 4.7 billion miles or 7.58 billion kilometers), NASA’s Deep Impact mission has ended.  The last communication with the probe was Aug. 8.

File:Deep Impact Celestia Simulation 20050704.jpg

The craft was designed to study the interior composition of the comet 9P/Tempel, by releasing an impactor into the comet.  On July 4, 2005, the impactor successfully collided with the comet’s nucleus, excavating debris from the interior of the comet’s nucleus, allowing photographs of the impact crater. The photographs showed the comet to be more dusty and less icy than had been expected. The impact generated a large and bright dust cloud, which unexpectedly obscured the view of the impact crater.

After completing it primary mission, Deep Impact flew by Earth on December 31, 2007 on its way to an extended mission, designated EPOXI, with a dual purpose to study extrasolar planets and comet Hartley 2.

This is unfortunate timing as the EPOXI mission had just started imaging comet ISON and would have provided even more detail about this new visitor to the inner solar system.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

Summer Showers with a Chance of Rock.

As we move into the middle of the summer it is time to start planning your meteorite shower parties!

2012 Meteor shower chart

The chart above will help you plan to watch these awesome events.  Well, some are more awesome than others.

Of course some of the most popular meteor showers are the Perseid and the Geminid showers.  As my birthday is in August, I am partial to the Perseids.  Also, it is warmer.  A lot warmer.

I mean really, the Geminid’s are nice and everything, but come on!  All night in the middle of December!  I live in California, I freeze if it drops below 50 degrees F any more.

So what exactly causes these annual displays in the night sky?  Meteor showers always seem to come from one point in the night sky.  Basically these meteors are caused by streams of cosmic dust and debris, called meteoroids, entering Earth’s atmosphere. The dust and debris come from comets.  Every time a comet passes the Sun, it leaves a little trail of debris and dust behind.  As the Earth rotates around the Sun, we run into the remnants.

All the meteorites seem to come from the same place because they are all on  parallel paths, like looking down railroad tracks.

So how do you observe a meteor show?  Lucky for you I have a sure fire method of catching the best view possible for any given meteor shower:

Step 1:  Find a picnic table, or bring your own under a clear, dark sky (it really doesn’t even have to be that dark, just clear).

Step 2: lay back on said picnic table.

Step 3: Open eyes at scheduled time (set alarms as needed).

Step 4: Enjoy the show.

By the way, you can bring the whole family along.  All meteor showers are rated G by the MPAA (Many Perusing Astronomers Association).

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman

The one is definitely a Lemmon.

No, that isn’t a mis-spelling.  Comet Lemmon should be visible in the north for the next month or so.

Image credit: Gabe Brammer

Gabe’s picture above is a fantastic shot of Pan-STARRS at the bottom, a meteor in the middle and comet Lemmon on top.

Gabe has obviously been blessed by the astrophotography and weather deities.  However, as you can see Lemmon will be a binocular object like Pan-STARRS.

This is also Lemmon’s first recorded trip through the solar system.  Lemmon has a very long orbital period of at least 11,000 years.  It also has an eccentric orbit traveling mostly perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic.

If you have a clear southern exposure along with some binoculars (and some assistance from the gods noted above) you should be able to see a Lemmon in the sky.

Look for the greenish-blue blob in the sky.
https://i0.wp.com/www.oneminuteastronomer.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Comet-Lemmon-Panstarrs.jpg
It is a really good year for comets (at least for our friends in the southern hemisphere), so if the skies are clear, take a look to the south around sunset to try and catch another comet.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities.  Connect with me on Google +.  If you need help with any patent, trademark, or copyright issue, or know someone that can use my help, please contact me for a free 30 minute consultation by sending me an email or call TOLL FREE at 1-855-UR IDEAS (1-855-874-3327) and ask for Norman.

Norman