posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 12:07 AM
reply to post by Hellmutt
From what I gather, the comet had no tail because it wasn't producing any out gas, and now that it has increased in brightness and is producing out
gas, some are speculating the tail is moving away from us, so we can't see it.
The thing about comet tails is they are always going away from the Sun. The Sun's solar wind blows the comet dust particles away from the sun, so it
doesn't always follow behind the direction the comet is headed like it would on Earth in an atmosphere. It is possible that the tail and the comet
are heading in the same direction. Here is a good example of the tail of a comet.
From the orbital data I've seen, I don't buy the idea that we can't see the tail because it is behind the comet. I think it takes time for it to
develop now that it is producing out gas.
What is interesting about this comet is everyone is wondering what may have caused the increased brightness. It could be that it was hit by an
asteroid or something and may be breaking up which would explain the increased brightness. So everyone will be watching it for the next few days to
see if there is any change in it's shape. If the shape changes then it is probably breaking up. If not, then another explanation for the increased
brightness is needed.
For Astronomers this is a big event, because they hope to learn about the life cycle of these objects. If the comet is breaking up, it is near the end
of its life cycle, then the death blow just occurred right in front of our eyes. To witness something like this is like a football fan being able to
witness the Hail Mary, or the impossible touchdown pass. It could be a lifetime event and is a big deal for those that are interested.
[edit on 10/27/2007 by Hal9000]