How Far We Have Come(t)

It wasn’t that long ago, especially by cometary standards, that humans viewed the unpredictable and spectacular arrival of a comet, its tail spread across the sky unlike any star or planet, as an obviously unnatural event. How could an object flying so dramatically and briefly through the heavens be anything other than a message from a divine … Read more

Comet ISON Befuddles the Experts

Take a ball of loosely aggregated rock and ice, the nucleus of a comet, fresh from the distant reaches of the solar system.  Throw it past the sun, really fast, but so close that the sun takes up a large fraction of the sky.  What’s going to happen?  The answer: nobody knows for sure.  Yesterday … Read more

Icy Comet ISON’s Trial By Fire

Comet ISON, a pristine chunk of rock and ice from the extreme edges of the solar system, is making its first visit to the vicinity of the Earth and the Sun. And what a trip! Today, in a few hours, at 1:45 in the afternoon on the U.S. east coast, the comet will pass exceptionally … Read more