Feeds

Basically RUBBISH 'COMET of the Century' ISON snapped by HiRISE in Mars orbit

'Not visually pleasing', admit NASA boffins

New hybrid storage solutions

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter circling high above the red planet has taken a break from its normal assignment of staring down at the ochre world beneath to get some snaps of Comet ISON as it passes by en route to the inner solar system.

Not going to set the world on fire. Or even the sky

Despite the fact that the orbiter used an instrument dubbed HiRISE - for High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment - the actual comet itself failed to fill more than a measly pixel. Disappointed NASA boffins wrote:

HiRISE saw a small spot at the position of ISON that is relatively bright, like a star, but moving relative to actual stars. The comet's coma is apparently very faint ...

... the image isn't visually pleasing ...

ISON was discovered by Russian astronomers last year, while it was still out beyond the orbit of Jupiter. It's thought to be a new comet, on its first plunge into the solar system from the Oort Cloud. Its path will take it within three-quarters of a million miles of the Sun at the end of November, so that if it was a big 'un it would perhaps have developed a spectacular sky-dominating tail. However this now doesn't seem at all likely.

Even so the NASA scientists offer some hope.

"As the comet gets closer to the sun, its brightness will increase to Earth-based observers," they write. "The comet may also become intrinsically brighter as the stronger sunlight volatilizes the comet's ices."

There's still hope of naked-eye visibility for ISON, even if not really any that it will be the comet of the century.

Keep watching the skies. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor
Single ant-sized Stanford chip combines radio, 'puter, antenna
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans
Slimy chums form deadly alliance to sweep seas
Drones swarm over bearded Brit billionaire's island getaway
Just to take lovely pictures though, after Richard Branson invests in 3D Robotics
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
California blue whale numbers soar to historical levels, say boffins
Still far too many of them being struck by US ships, mind
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.