Thursday, May 12, 2011

Stifled behind the scenes debate related to the brightness of comet Elenin

In my blog before last I sparked a little bit of excitement on a comet related Yahoo group.  Someone had spotted my outrageous claim of magnitude -20 brightness for comet Elenin during conjunction and posted it in the group.  I then saw in my blog stats people coming to my blog from that group and so I went and checked it out.  I read through the thread, which can be seen here, and then signed up to the group so I could post a comment.   Here's my coment:

Replying to all those scoffing at my magnitude -20 suggestion! =D

I saw your group in my blog stats. Though I've joined, I see most of you are
really into comets, whereas my interest peeks on the advent of a possible great
comet and then fades until the next great possible great comet is discovered.

In regards to magnitude -20. Yeah, it's highly unlikely, but it's not
completely improbable, right? I know that it has never happened aside from the
sun grazers, but lets say comet Elenin did end up being a great comet by
breaking up and became very active and was extremely dusty, wouldn't it have a
chance during its inferior conjunction? Anyone know off the top of their head
if we've had a comet in the past at around 0.23 AU from earth and just slightly
above the ecliptic during conjunction? Intuitively this particular
configuration would be optimal conditions for the forward scattering effect to
occur, it feels to me. Not too close, not too far, not to high, not too low.
Just right, it feels to me.

I love being wrong! So don't hesitate. =)

Which then generated this private reply:

Dude just so u know you look like an idiot. -20M will never happen. Yes P1 McNaught was just like this one. So was West. -20M is absolutely a woowoo magnitude of someone who knows nothing about comets. the best that could happen is a daylight bright object that might reach brightness of venus. that is the best. all these guys in the group they don't know either. they said p1 would barely reach 1M and it came and was brighter than venus. but -20M is no chance of ever happening that is total woowoo we have never had a comet that bright ever and they come wthat close all the time to the sun. just last year we had two comets come that close to the sun, one disintegrated and the other made it around. this comet is not planet x, nor nibiru, nor is it going to smash into the earth, none of the woowoo conspiracy stuff, it is another comet, possibly a good one but no woo woo stuff .

talk to you later ..

 So I sent this to the group:

Open replying to private message:

The well tenured highly credentialed patrons who have accumulated in this forum may tend to be perturbed and guarded by the use of derogatory language. Reason being is, as a being progresses in maturity and intelligence one tends to purposely suppress those innate human desires which are considered to be ill-evolved and therefore tend to shy away from situations containing such.

Yes, you're right, I know nothing about comets, but then again I tend to know nothing about everything as it suits me better when considering the thought of knowing everything about nothing.

Of the thousands of comets that have been discovered there is only a handful that have been active enough to fit within the criterion of my exaggerated hypothetical, yet none of these fit the same positional coordinates. Consequently, there is nothing solid to refer to in this regard. Nor is there any quantitative or numerical modeling that can be referred to that would allow for solid refutation. All there is to rely on is subjectivity in this case. We have our intuition that is derived from our biological super computer simulations running in mind. The simulations that tell us that it is an exaggerated hypothetical, but nothing solid enough to say one way or the other to a high degree of certainty what will happen under the conditions of the hypothetical.

There are in fact numerous documented eyewitness accounts for a few sun grazing comets that were described as being, "as bright as the sun." Yet, these sun grazing comets had the benefit of extreme heating thereby causing extreme activity and also the very close proximity to the sun allowing for extreme illumination. Contrarily, in the hypothetical question for comet Elenin, the activity would be derived solely from breaking up and the brightness would be solely derived from forward scattering combined with being very dusty, thus resulting in a display approaching the proposed magnitude -20. The subjective consensus answer is a confident no, whereas I am tending to lean more towards a cautious yes and that therein is pretty much the conclusion of the discussion.

To which the moderator blocked and said:

Keep it private. As far as I know, nobody has used bad language openly. There is no reason to answer publicly and start a flame war. If you think otherwise this is not the forum for you.


Translation, we won't be having any fun!  HAHAHA! =D