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View Full Version : What would happen if comet 17P/Holmes explodes ?



jonfr
2007-Oct-27, 11:19 AM
The question is this. It is a simple question, but the answer might be complex.

What would happen to Earth if the comet 17P/Holmes explodes ? Given the amount of debris it can give off in such event.

astromark
2007-Oct-27, 11:33 AM
Only if the Earth was to pass through that debris field would we see a spectacular meteor shower event... otherwise we will just watch as she gets much brighter and defused.... We are in the box seat. Comet 17p Holmes is not large enough to be a concern. and if it is exploding..even less.

Jens
2007-Oct-27, 01:00 PM
What would happen to Earth if the comet 17P/Holmes explodes ? Given the amount of debris it can give off in such event.

It's a simple answer. The earth would be instantly incinerated, destroyed absolutely. And furthermore, it seems possible that the comet will explode. :)

But seriously, I'm curious about why you ask these questions. There are lots of bad things that might happen to you or me, but it's not really the brightening of a comet that is to worry about. Drunk drivers and cars running red lights are the realistic things to worry about, along with diabetes and heart disease and cancer. Things like comets and rogue planets and supernova are not the big dangers.

Nowhere Man
2007-Oct-27, 03:51 PM
He's filling in for bmpbmp.

Fred

Ronald Brak
2007-Oct-27, 03:58 PM
If Holmes explodes the results would be elementary.

Tucson_Tim
2007-Oct-27, 05:35 PM
If Holmes explodes the results would be elementary.

:clap::clap:


@All: I know that comets can be broken into pieces by tidal forces (Shoemaker-Levy 9) but how does a comet explode?

astromark
2007-Oct-27, 07:47 PM
:clap::clap:


@All: I know that comets can be broken into pieces by tidal forces (Shoemaker-Levy 9) but how does a comet explode?

Thats easy... 'Ya get Bruce Willis to drill a hole and place a bomb and then....

Just keep watching the sky...any minute from now.....

Tucson_Tim
2007-Oct-27, 07:51 PM
Thats easy... 'Ya get Bruce Willis to drill a hole and place a bomb and then....


That has to be one of the dumbest big-budget S/F movies ever. What a waste of special effects and actors (well, some of them).

Lord Jubjub
2007-Oct-27, 09:16 PM
:clap::clap:


@All: I know that comets can be broken into pieces by tidal forces (Shoemaker-Levy 9) but how does a comet explode?

A large pocket inside the comet breaks open with enough force to tear the comet apart.

JustAFriend
2007-Oct-27, 11:50 PM
Its just a big snowball. What do you expect, a Hollywood nuclear explosion???

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-28, 12:19 AM
If Holmes explodes the results would be elementary.
Yes, Watson, brilliant deduction.
I'd be interesting, but not dangerous.

jonfr
2007-Oct-28, 12:33 AM
It's a simple answer. The earth would be instantly incinerated, destroyed absolutely. And furthermore, it seems possible that the comet will explode. :)

But seriously, I'm curious about why you ask these questions. There are lots of bad things that might happen to you or me, but it's not really the brightening of a comet that is to worry about. Drunk drivers and cars running red lights are the realistic things to worry about, along with diabetes and heart disease and cancer. Things like comets and rogue planets and supernova are not the big dangers.

I don't think the human race does reliease how lucky we are just being here. Given that the universe is full if stuff that wants to kill us and the planet in the way.

jonfr
2007-Oct-28, 12:36 AM
Its just a big snowball. What do you expect, a Hollywood nuclear explosion???

How knows what type of elements are inside a comet. But I am not expecting nuclear explosion. If this type of stuff ever happens.

Van Rijn
2007-Oct-28, 12:48 AM
I don't think the human race does reliease how lucky we are just being here. Given that the universe is full if stuff that wants to kill us and the planet in the way.

While there are dangers, space is big. I'm not sure what you're asking about this comet. Comets don't explode like nuclear bombs. They can break up if conditions are right (like a near pass to a planet) and pockets of volatiles can be warmed, causing more dust and a brighter comet. This comet isn't close to is, it isn't heading our way now and would need a huge push in just the right way and right direction to hit the Earth in one piece.

So, the answer to your question is: It won't explode, but in general, the most likely result of cometary breakups on earth is that they give us something to look at, and if things are just right, give us occasional meteor showers.

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-28, 12:49 AM
While there are dangers, space is big.
Yeah, it's so big that just to get out of the solar system at the present speed would take thousands of years.

Ronald Brak
2007-Oct-28, 01:33 AM
(Pssssssst! Decades!)

Van Rijn
2007-Oct-28, 01:51 AM
It depends on your definition of "solar system" and what "present speed" you choose. For something like Voyager, it takes decades to reach the heliopause, one "boundary" of the solar system. But the sun's gravitational influence dominates out to roughly two lightyears. It will take millennia for Voyager to go that far.

jonfr
2007-Oct-28, 04:05 AM
Spaceweather.com has a great picture of the comet and what appears to be a dust coming from the comet.

The picture can be seen here (http://www.spaceweather.com/comets/holmes/27oct07/wah.gif?PHPSESSID=05u28su8f0ijd211dr190icf26).

KaiYeves
2007-Oct-28, 09:48 PM
It depends on your definition of "solar system" and what "present speed" you choose. For something like Voyager, it takes decades to reach the heliopause, one "boundary" of the solar system. But the sun's gravitational influence dominates out to roughly two lightyears. It will take millennia for Voyager to go that far.
I was refering to Voyager and the gravitational influence.

Jens
2007-Oct-29, 01:38 AM
I don't think the human race does reliease how lucky we are just being here. Given that the universe is full if stuff that wants to kill us and the planet in the way.

Just to be clear, though, I'm not saying that nothing is dangerous. I think there are two kinds of things: those that we can realistically protect ourselves against, and those that we can't. For example, asteroid collisions are a real danger, and I'm all in favor of monitoring them and seeing if we can do something about it. But for example, what if a black hole is heading into our solar system? Disregarding the fact that it's most unlikely, the problem is that we couldn't do anything about even if we knew. So there is no point monitoring things that you can't do anything about. And then there are things that just aren't threats. So a comet colliding with the earth is a real danger, but a comet "exploding", whatever that means, is not.

Kaptain K
2007-Oct-29, 02:09 AM
So a comet colliding with the earth is a real danger...
But, not this comet!

Jens
2007-Oct-29, 02:26 AM
Yes, I meant "a comet in general."

joema
2007-Oct-29, 03:19 AM
...What would happen to Earth if the comet 17P/Holmes explodes ? Given the amount of debris it can give off in such event.
I think the closest approach to earth is about 100 million miles, or about 3x earth's closest distance to Mars.

Even if it exploded, it seems the chance of affecting earth is very small. If Mars's moon Phobos exploded, would it affect earth?

astromark
2007-Oct-29, 05:51 AM
While there are dangers, space is big. Comets don't explode like nuclear bombs. They can break up if conditions are right (like a near pass to a planet) and pockets of volatiles can be warmed, causing more dust and a brighter comet. This comet isn't close to us...
So, the answer to your question is: It won't explode, but in general, the most likely result of cometary breakups on earth is that they give us something to look at, and if things are just right, give us occasional meteor showers. and Jens replied with her usual flare for the right balance...

My best guess at this time? is that in its closest approach to Sol it may have broken or cracked. Reveling a ice core or layer which is now putting on a bit of a show... It may continue to break up. But it will not be exploding any day soon.

Jens
2007-Oct-29, 06:19 AM
and Jens replied with her usual flare for the right balance...

Actually "his". But thanks for the compliment! It sounds a bit like "Jen", but actually is a Scandinavian name.

astromark
2007-Oct-29, 06:27 AM
Aww..:( shuks... Sorry mate...lol

jonfr
2007-Oct-30, 06:08 AM
Has anyone noticed fragments coming off the comet ? Specially since it did start to get brighter. I am not meaning the tail of the comet.

astromark
2007-Oct-30, 09:14 AM
I have shown an interest in this comet since its sudden brightening.. and will now sagest that we keep It in view for that which will not explode...may have.:) The images now coming of the net are not showing fragments. As it continues to grow more visable...

Kaptain K
2007-Oct-30, 09:29 AM
Has anyone noticed fragments coming off the comet ? Specially since it did start to get brighter. I am not meaning the tail of the comet.
Short answer...No!

Longer answer (and a bit of a rant): There are images all over the web. Our very own BA has some on his website. By coming here and asking "Has anyone noticed..." you are essentially saying "I'm too lazy to look for myself. Would somebody please spoon feed me."

laurele
2007-Oct-31, 04:16 AM
That has to be one of the dumbest big-budget S/F movies ever. What a waste of special effects and actors (well, some of them).

I was a background actress in the other comet hits the Earth movie of that year (1997), "Deep Impact," in the Times Square scene where Morgan Freeman, playing the president, tells us about the 1600 foot waves the impact would generate. Naturally, I am partial to this movie instead of the rival one with Bruce Willis.

Gillianren
2007-Oct-31, 06:47 AM
I was a background actress in the other comet hits the Earth movie of that year (1997), "Deep Impact," in the Times Square scene where Morgan Freeman, playing the president, tells us about the 1600 foot waves the impact would generate. Naturally, I am partial to this movie instead of the rival one with Bruce Willis.

My cousin's kid is in the rival one with Bruce Willis. I still don't like it.

jonfr
2007-Oct-31, 07:10 AM
Short answer...No!

Longer answer (and a bit of a rant): There are images all over the web. Our very own BA has some on his website. By coming here and asking "Has anyone noticed..." you are essentially saying "I'm too lazy to look for myself. Would somebody please spoon feed me."

Look, I don't know how to spot a comet fragment on a picture. I have been looking at images on the web and all they tell me is the fact that the comet is expanding (by light, not by radius).

What you have shown here is called professorial arrogant, it is quite annoying to people how do not know as much as you do. I know many linux users how suffer from the same thing, in the end, nobody can speak to them expect other professionals. The short story, I stopped speaking to them, as they did only give me answers that where worthless.

jonfr
2007-Oct-31, 11:30 AM
BBC News has intresting news about the comet. The news is here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7070108.stm).