Comet Ison Outburst takes it to naked eye visibility.

Comet Ison Comes to Life

Comet ISON Comes to Life

Veteran comet observer John Bortle reports that Comet ISON is undergoing a major outburst. It was six times brighter when he observed it this morning (November 14th) than on the previous morning.

Bortle noted a short, faint tail while viewing the comet through 15×70 binoculars. At least one observer has reported seeing the comet without optical aid.

New Bruce Gary Images


Animations and Images (C) Bruce Gary. Much more at

237 thoughts on “Comet Ison Outburst takes it to naked eye visibility.

  1. Clark; I’ve suspected these last 4 weeks of inertia means Craig has determined the blog is just too much trouble. Really a shame. AA’s prescience in setting up this place still gives me a refuge from my ethnocentrism. Have you tried changing up those nerve pathways? You seem to have emerged from the fog somewhat.

  2. I hope that’s not the most recent backup restored! Was that blog software custom written Clark? I notice it says Coded by wibbler.

    What on earth could be going on.

  3. Clark,

    Good idea about a post. I’ll hold off for a bit just in case Jon’s in the middle of something and trying to fix it. If you’ve any reason to think I should post sooner let me know. You can always email me if you find out anything.

    I’ll write up a quick post now but hold off on making it public just for a bit.

  4. Squonk, no, there are backups of the newer, WordPress blog. I don’t think that was the last page before the blog upgrade, either. This has to have been done deliberately.

    Why that page?

  5. I’d actually expected Craig to probably post today on Nelson Mandela’s death. Instead we get this. Reading through the front page posts now.

  6. Thank you AA

    Was oot Geminid hunting earlier…. Seen a beaut around 11 ; 30 falling south through Orion… Really did look to be in my Local(ish) skies and not in the Atmosphere Meteorite methinks…

    Have a good weekend

  7. How much real time do the video sequences of Ison’s encounter with Sol represent? I find myself watching the sun more than the comet. Watching it in time-lapse like that, seeing the constant outward streams and the sudden large outbursts, it’s just awe-inspiring.


  8. Hmm. Dozens, possibly hundreds of fragments may still be in the orbital path. Dead comets are harder to see. I hope I’m wrong.

  9. Hi Brian,

    Meant to mention I can’t get that video to play properly on my ancient Linux laptops. Going to have to switch the Windows box on when I remember to watch it!

  10. Pre String theory mainstream physics looks quite exotic enough to me, in fact just exotic enough to apply to the sort of universe we observe. Post string theory physics looks too exotic.

  11. Clark,

    This bloody cache is exotic enough for me at the moment. And because I’ve got the “recent comments” box on every page I pretty much have to invalidate all page caches for every post every time someone comments if I want the most recent blog comments to actually appear on all these pages. Normally you only need to regen the front page, the post/comment page itself and the feeds. Still with no thanks to the documentation I think I’ve figured it out. It’s a good plugin but the documentation in some areas is very vague and it will cost me $75 dollars for them to answer basic queries.

    Still fingers crossed.

  12. Clark; What is ‘post’ string theory? Castanada cited ‘strings of the world’ some twenty years before ‘science’.

  13. Aye AA, that video was a little jumpy but watchable, however, it now seems to be like unwatchable on my p.c. damn Machines …

    Anyway after the numpties took the Ison real time page down just as it got to high excitement…. I’m not one for numbers at all, but this realtime chart had me hypnotized…But after some protest they have it back up…. Whatever is left of Ison, is still ( would have been ? ) barreling along at serious Velocities….The Ghosts Closet to Earth – Boxing Day

  14. Ben, you’re right, string theory is the current thing. I’ve read complaints that string theory gets too much attention. My gripe is that it’s looking for something more fundamental than quantum physics, and I feel that a fair few theorists may be striving for a deterministic theory so they can be rid of all that pesky quantum weirdness.

    I think that pursuing determinism would be likely to lead to confusing dead-ends that could waste a lot of time; nature has already given her answer on such issues, and they contradict certain common prejudices of aspects of human thinking. So what? The whole history of science is the proving wrong of commonly held and apparently obvious assumptions. The Earth is flat; wrong. Everything orbits the Earth; wrong. What goes up must come down; wrong. Solid objects are solid; wrong. The matter in living things is special and different stuff from all the other matter; wrong. This time we’ve been proven fundamentally wrong. Big deal; it had to happen eventually.

    I think parts of quantum physics look pretty messy; there seem to be somewhat arbitrary distributions of particles, masses, values and coefficients, etc,. String theory looks suitably mathematically versatile that it could enable the standard quantum theories to be reformulated into something far more elegant. I suspect that such an achievement could well reveal something deep about reality, but something entirely in accord with the anti-intuitive ‘modern physics weirdness’ which has already been experimentally confirmed so decisively.

    Relativity has forced us to ask “what is time, apart from our awareness of it?”, and quantum physics has forced us to ask “what does it mean to be aware of something?”. The study of that which we took to be independent of ourselves has led us right back to examining the essence of our own experience, and I feel that from this point on, any ‘deeper’ physical theory that attempts to head away from that is attempting to head in a wrong direction.

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