You’d think that comets crashing into stars and supernovae are things that don’t happen too often. Eh, you’d be wrong if you thought that!
Today on Ars Technica I read a super cool analysis of a comet crashing into the sun, along with the juicy nugget of info that sun-grazing comets actually come along about once every 3 days. Once every 3 days–that’s a lot of comets! I had no idea. Kinda makes one reconsider the notion that space is a mostly empty place.
Also, the first supernova of 2012 has been spotted via automated telescope. On one hand, it’s kind of sad that the days of amateur astronomers discovering these things may be tapering off, since automated all-sky observations pick up anything and everything unusual these days. I guess the flip side of that coin is that we’ll learn more and learn faster. Also the amateur astronomers know where to point their scopes to capture abnormal events faster so maybe more observations will actually happen. On that tip, it looks like some guys over at the totally badass astronomy forum cloudy nights were indeed snapping shots of 2012a. Below I’m posting the amateur image, because it’s pretty sweet to see that weekend warriors can really do this stuff;