A small chance to see a big thing

Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap vi...
Mars, 2001, with the southern polar ice cap visible on the bottom. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like the comet that restarted the evolutionary life cycle 65 million years ago (give a take a decade or two, because, well, scientists), one icy rock is approaching Mars

Given the unusual speed of the comet (which is moving so fast that it may well be coming from outside the solar system—cool upon cool) and the fact that it is travelling the wrong way round the sun, from a planet’s point of view, Mr Plait estimates that its impact should yield a blast equivalent to that of a billion megatons of TNT. It would be an event on the same sort of scale as the impact that drove the dinosaurs extinct 65m years ago. If it really is that big, and if the comet were to hit the side of Mars facing Earth (it seems that it might do, but it might also hit the far side), then the blast could well be visible to the naked eye, even in daylight.

Unfortunately, there is only a small chance that this might happen; however, if it does, it would be nice to have the Curiosity on the ground.

Wonder if we can name the comet, Cat.

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4 Replies to “A small chance to see a big thing”

  1. Or a big chance to see a small thing. Next week, 12th and 13th. Just after sun set in the west. Suppose to be close to the moon. PAN-STARRS comet. May be good, may not. But unlike most meteor showers, you don’t have to get up at 3:00am for best viewing, and then find out it’s cloudy, foggy, or just a plain bust in viewing. Been there, done that.

  2. BTW, if you have an iPhone, get DistantSuns lite (free version) from the apps store. Works great, and it includes the pan-Starr location by selecting “comets”.

  3. OK. A bust. On the pacific coast, between the cresant moon and the horizon. Not visible with the naked eye. My comet experience will have to wait for a bigger one. Cheshire Cat moon is laughing at me.

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