Science & Astronomy
19. October 2014

It’s finally happening,  but it seems like ages since Comet C/2013 A1 “Siding Springs” was discovered last year and everyone was very excited at first because it looked like it would actually collide with Mars. Fortunately, if turned out that the comet is only making a close flyby of the red planet, but this is going to be spectacular nevertheless. With a whole fleet of scientific probes around and even on Mars, humanity is still going to have a front seat without being too near the action. The whole spectacle starts at about 18:30 UTC in less than four hours and while we probably won’t see any images from the orbiters and rovers right away, we can still observe the comet’s encounter here from earth. Here are a few pointers with all the necessary information:

Emily Lakdawalls’s post basically has all the links, including several online observatories which will be broadcasting later. It’s also recommended to follow her on Twitter at @elakdawalla because she will probably be live-tweeting the event.

Universe Today has several articles up, but this one by David Dickinson from a couple of days ago is especially interesting because it describes how the comet encounter actually looks from the surface of Mars – hint: it’s enormeous!

• If you want to populate your Twitter feed with science, you can subscribe to my Science & Astronomy list and maybe in addition also to the Spaceflight list.

NASA also has a lot of information on their website, including the infographic what is observing when at Mars during the comet’s flyby.

[Update 20.10.: All three NASA Mars orbiters are fine and the newest arrival, India’s MOM also seems to be okay. Now we just have to wait for news on observations – no new images yet from the orbiters and rovers, but that will probably come in the next few days when all the images have been downlinked. (It appears one image already has made its way to Earth!) And you can always check on Deep Space Network Now what the different radio telescopes in the interplanetary WiFi are doing!]

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