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Marian Powell
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 - 03:45 pm:   

Did I miss a thread devoted to the Mysterious Exploding Comet? So here's one now. I figure anything is space is grist for the sf mill.

This should be fictional story in Analog with a really clever scientific wrapup involving an alien spaceship. Instead it's a true story. On October 24th, minor Comet Holmes exploded up to one million times its brightness and astronomers are still debating the cause. One of the most interesting theories is it has its own "moon" that periodically crashes into it. Seems it did this back in the 1890s also so it's sort of an Old Faithful of space.

www.spaceweather.com has eleven pages of photographs that are really cool. The latest is that a couple of days ago it's tail fell off. Just gets stranger and stranger. And even stranger is that I posted this and it came out as a subtopic. So try, try again.
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Sean Wills
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 07:19 am:   

Any cults basing their activities on this? ;) That might make an interesting subplot for the Analog story.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 - 11:25 am:   

Any Cult of the Sun God needs to switch to the Great Comet God called Holmes. According to www.spaceweather.com the comet cloud now covers an area larger than the sun.
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 - 11:04 pm:   

The Alien Spacecraft, after spending an equivalent 4729 Earth years traversing the interstellar medium in its search for a G class planet with abundant water and suitable gravitational field for solar plasma shielding, had developed a large negative polarity matching the surroundings in which it had been immersed for so long. On approaching closer than Saturn to the Earth's Sun, the surrounding solar electric field was rising so dramatically in its positive electric charge that the spacecraft began to discharge electrons as if it was a giant capacitor trying to equalize. Unfortunately the field's positive polarity was still rising by the square of the distance inversely. When they passed Jupiter it was 4 times more positive, on passing Mars it was 16 times stronger than at Saturn. Their craft continued to electrically discharge at an increasingly alarming rate and some discussion ensued as to whether they would be able to survive fatal damage should they venture to actually arrive in Earth orbit.

[any takers on the next paragraph in the story?]
[I'm not so good at alien dialogue!]
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David Marshall
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 12:52 am:   

Reverse the polarity!

(Hey, it always works in Star Trek :-) )
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Jason K. Chapman
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 06:13 am:   

"Gragnog," the captain tweeted. "Fribble the klabbisnitz."

Gragnog twitched his three rear tentacles in irritation. As if I hadn't already thought of that. "Sir, we're leaking volatiles faster than an Arcturian sneeblepuppy pees on the rug. If we fribble now, the whole thing could blow."

Seven of the captain's eye stalks swung toward Gragnog. "We're becoming a gaseous anomoly. We have to do something!"
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Bill Moonroe
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 06:58 am:   

Meanwhile, The Chief Recycler of the Last Days finished mixing up the last of the grape Kool-Aid. As he ignored the green fumes rising from its surface, he led his flock in one last chorus of "Do the Hokey Pokey" as two hundred matching pairs of Reeboks and Harvard blazers lined up for the Last Communion.

When everyone had punch in hand, they all looked at the expanding image on the big screen TV. The Chief Recycler hummed loudly, raised the only non-fuming cup of punch as he exclaimed, "The King has returned. All hail the King."

His followers' Skull rings glinted in the blue light from the screen. "All hail the King."

"Elvis has returned!"
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Elizabeth L
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 01:37 pm:   

Back on the bridge of the Nacklegorg, Gragnog's gasbag deflated momentarily as he pondered the options. His foretentacle hovered over the klabbisnitz fribbleator - what to do? If the klabbis wasn't fribbled just right, they might transport into an extra dimension. Or blow up.

Srilipa, the pneumatic communications officer, floated over to Gragnog's anterior sensor organ. She half-closed her occular orifice and whispered. "We're in your competent tentacles."
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Sean Wills
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 03:01 pm:   

Gragnog flinched and lurched away from her, leaving a few tell-tale oblie pellets in his wake.

"You can't say that in *public*!" he said, vocalizing on a private frequency. "What would your Mother Nest think?"

Srilipa chuckled and poised a tentacle lazily over the klabbisnitz fribbleator. She was giving off a psychic aura of a certain fiffliatz factor, one that was simply irresistible to Gragnog.

"Oh Gragnog, you always overthink things..." she vocalized back at him, as her tentacle dropped towards the fribbleator.
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 - 06:32 pm:   

Gragnog was flummoxed, his anterior lexmas positor was extending towards Srilipa and not from conscious control. The Captain had twice warned him about flirtatious behaviour on the bridge. In a desperate move to change the subject Gragnog blurted, "Captain, can you summon Engineer Rosnak up here. She might have an idea of what to do."

"What could she do that I couldn't" pouted Srilipa.

'BZZZAAAPPP' "Another of those blasted electrical discharges", grumbled Captain Glombork. "Stenfon, get Engineer Rosnak up here on the double, and secure that antenna to the hull it's acting like a lightening rod, and if it isn't fried crispie now, it soon will be."

Gragnog felt a few less psychic feramones coming from Srilipa, to his relief and dismay. After-hours conversation in the Easyspeken Officers Lounge would be uncertain waters after my mixed signals to her here. Avoiding thinking more about it he returned his attention to the helm, which is my duty and my work. "The closer we get to this sun the more intense the electricals, let us increase our distance." He swung the ship's direction slowly away from the star. "I can never guess what Rosnak thinks."

"Rosak here Captain", she piped on arriving.

"Any ideas", repiped Glombork.

"We need to match 'charge intrinsics' with this star's e-field, then we can proceed closer, provided we maintain an electron bleed-off. The Xray antenna was doing that to some extent, but it's not networked well enough to the total volume of our ship and surges occur. One of which you just witnessed. Take us back out 20% of our solar distance remaining while we make a better bleed antenna, repair the Xray antenna, and run some copper cables to the less connected sections of the ship to stop the surges."

Srilipa's tentacles danced in upstaged irritation, while Gragnog's positor was wilting from her vexation.
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T. L. E.
Posted on Monday, November 19, 2007 - 06:34 am:   

Nah, all you're seeing are the expanding remnents of those other 2 forums.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 02:04 pm:   

Propelled by spambot engines. The expansion is the egos of the spambot creators.
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Marian Powell
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - 07:28 am:   

Srilipa finally spoke her irritation. "Running copper cables won't work. They're not strong enough but if we don't stop the surges soon, the next major surge could send an EMP towards that third planet from this sun that appears to harbor a highly technological civilization. It will wipe it out."

Glombark and Gragnog looked at her. "So?" Glombork asked finally. "What's the problem?"
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Friday, November 30, 2007 - 11:25 pm:   

"It's no problem Captain, but if you don't want to spend the next three cycles replenishing supplies from a planet that's over +400 degrees or under -135, I suggest we use some of that silver halide buss bar you snuck onboard before we left Procyon City."

Glombork's multi-frequency sensor twitched involuntarily, giving away the game that he knew, she knew, he knew. As the end result was all that matters, he knew tides would change in his favor later on, and willingly surrendered the unlock code for the storage locker. After Rosnak and Srilipa departed the bridge, Glombork half said to himself and Gragnog, "And it used to be thought that having women on board was bad luck."
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Lars Thorsen
Posted on Saturday, December 01, 2007 - 12:06 am:   

Not to change the subject too drastically and lose the flow of the story, but if your social/conversational writing skills are better than your science writing, here's a website that will get you up to speed on Comet 17P Holmes. Actually Holmes is an asteroid whose orbit stays between Mars and Juipter, tho it's orbit is tilted quite a lot from the rather flat plane in which all the planets orbit. Holmes is now at the northern most apex of its orbit, and so is at its maximum distance away from the planetary ecliptic.

www.thunderbolts.info is the website, and their discussion FORUM has a topic, 'Holmes gets very bright'. There are 14 pages currently in this topic, around pages 5-9 it really gets figured out what is truly happening with Holmes. Read it from the beginning if you like, or cut to the chase at page 5, which is where this link will take you. The graphs, charts and pictures help to tell the story very well.

http://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=659&postdays=0&p ostorder=asc&start=60

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