Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Armchair Astronomers Revel In Comet's Path

Projected path of comet ASAS as seen by SOHO. The LASCO camera creates an artificial eclipse to block out the Sun (the center circle). By blocking out the disk, scientists can study the Sun's outer atmosphere, or corona. Credit: NASA/ESA
Baltimore MD (SPX) Oct 08, 2004
Catching this week's comet is as easy as flipping the switch on your computer. As of today, a comet is visible within the live images sent back from a spacecraft stationed one million miles away. You can be a part of the action in real-time by downloading the Solar Media Viewer or checking the SOHO web site.

The comet is currently about 10 million miles away from the Sun, whose light makes it impossible to observe it from Earth. This makes the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite the only way to see the big event.

Its unique perch out in space means that it has the ability to see what "nobody else in the world can," according to Dr. Bernhard Fleck, the ESA Project Scientist.

Named ASAS (C/2004 R2), the comet ranks among the brightest in recent times. Scientists clue each other in on the brilliance of comets by attaching a number to it. A score of zero means it's visible from Earth.

Negative numbers denote less impressive comets and positive numbers signify that they are dazzling. Scientists speculate that ASAS will have a magnitude of 4.

Grzegorz Pojmanski of the Warsaw Astronomical Observatory in Poland discovered ASAS less than a month ago while remotely using a small telescope in Chile.

A part of the All Sky Automated Survey, that telescope is generally is focused on studying stars, but comets are often discovered at the same time.

Usually referred to as "dirty snowballs," a comet's center consists of ice and dust. Scientists believe comets originate in the Oort cloud, located beyond Neptune and are potentially as old as the solar system, making them intensely interesting.

As they get closer to the Sun, the heat melts the ice, making the comets outgas, creating the look of a tail.

The SOHO spacecraft has spotted about 850 comets so far.

Related Links
SOHO Web Site
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express

Fred Whipple, World-Renowned Astronomer, Dies
Cambridge MA (SPX) Sep 07, 2004
Dr. Fred Lawrence Whipple, the oldest living American astronomer and one of the last giants of 20th century astronomy, passed away August 30 at the age of 97 following a prolonged illness. He was Phillips Professor of Astronomy Emeritus at Harvard University and a Senior Physicist at SAO.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.