Comet ISON imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope on April 10, 2013. // NASA and ESA
The appearance of a potentially dazzling comet always brings out the worst in people. During the Halley’s Comet era in 1985 and 1986, we actually had cults who were speculating on the supernatural meaning of the comet’s appearance, as well as throwback reminders to the idea that the comet’s tail could pass over Earth and kill us.
Some of the talk about Comet ISON, which we all hope will be a nice naked-eye comet this fall, is almost as unfounded. At first, we heard proclamations that the comet would be “as bright as the Full Moon.” Now, we are hearing a loud chorus of naysayers who believe the comet has “already fizzled” and “will be a dud.” Those people ignore the fact that the comet, while not terribly bright yet, is still twice as far away from the Sun as we are. It was enough for my old friend Richard Wilds, a seasoned observer, to say, “I have to question whether some of these people have ever seen a comet.”
Yesterday the Huffington Post
published my blog on the real standing of Comet ISON.
Please let me know what you think — I will be anxious to hear your thoughts about the comet.