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What about this…
1. ‘What if’ Comet ISON hits the sun and the “cometary flare” is Earth directed.
2. 'What if' Solar Activity surge again just as ISON begins its close approach and whiplash around the sun.
This can have an impact on ISON?
3. 'What if' the comet breaks apart, the nucleus of the comet explodes into smaller chunks as it swings around the sun?
4, 'What if' the chunks survive, on what trajectory will they be?
Hopefully this don't turn into a doomsday thread, just putting this theory 'out there'
If comet ISON hits the sun, basically it means that God or another deity has intervened to change the laws of physics.
Experts say the comet won't threaten Earth. In fact, even if it breaks up.
1. The measured brightness of a comet depends on how large an aperture is used, with bigger apertures yielding brighter measurements.
2. Background stars can contaminate the aperture and bigger apertures have more background stars. Furthermore, two observations made at different times can yield different measurements due to different background stars being in the aperture because the comet moved.
3. The manner in which the background is calculated can affect the measured brightness, especially if the background is taken too close to the comet, the moon, or the Sun so too much background is removed.
4. Stars used to calibrate an image are generally of different spectral types and since different spectral types suffer differing amounts of extinction by the Earth’s atmosphere, the calibration varies depending on if the comet is observed overhead (the light passes through relatively little atmosphere) or near the horizon (the light passes through a lot of atmosphere).
5. The brightness depends on the wavelength of light in which the observation is made, so a measurement in an R-band image (which is mostly just reflected solar continuum) will yield a different measurement than a measurement in a V-band image (which has both reflected solar continuum and prominent emission from gases).
6. Different CCDs have different sensitivities and can therefore skew results. For observers making brightness estimates by eye, the human eye has a different response than a CCD and people’s eyes have different sensitivities.
I could go on, but you get the idea that there are a lot of variables that can affect the brightness measurement.
(Note: we have zero historical or modern record of any comet, ever, on a sun-striking orbit; this is all just hypothetical.) One of the more fascinating conclusions is that "in the case of impacts by the most massive comets (1020g or so) the cometary ﬂare energy release (2×1035erg) is much larger than that of the largest solar ﬂares ever observed. An impact of this magnitude would have very significant terrestrial effects."
The "cometary flare" would need to be Earth-directed. This Earth-threatening scenario is theoretically possible but for most plausible situations, a comet will be destroyed before it reaches the Sun's surface.
But what would happen if Comet ISON survives the Sun?