CANARY ISLANDS, Spain, April 18 /PRNewswire/ — Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann, which has broken up into 19 separate pieces and is heading for a rendezvous with Earth, will be broadcast live from Slooh.com’s Canary Island based telescopes every night this week starting at 9pm EST. The first of its kind, Slooh.com broadcasts live celestial events to the viewing public from its powerful telescopes stationed at high altitude at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, the leading European observatory.
Slooh.com’s coverage will be hosted by astronomy luminaries David Levy, co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy, Bob Berman, columnist with Astronomy Magazine, Michael Narlock, Head of Astronomy at the Cranbrook Institute of Science, and Jeffrey Bass, Head of Astronomy at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
“We have assembled the equipment and the commentators for just such a spectacle,” said Michael Paolucci, president of Slooh.com. “It will amaze people to see it live while the experts explain exactly what they are seeing.”
First discovered 76 years ago, Comet 73P Schwassmann-Wachmann was seen to split into 3 pieces in 1995 and as a result grew 1000 times brighter. The brightest fragment “C” will zoom past Earth at a distance of 0.0735 AU (11 million kilometers) keeping us safe from collisions. The other two main pieces may be a little closer at 0.0515 AU and 0.0505 AU. Although rare, comet splits have been reported in the past. Among them, the classic case is the comet Shoemaker Levy which split into 21 pieces, all of which crashed on to Jupiter in 1994.
Launched in 2003 and with members in 60 countries, Slooh is the only live online telescope available to the public. Slooh.com’s patent pending technology collects the light of distant celestial objects and streams it over the internet in real time. Slooh.com’s telescopes are configured to optimize the view of thousands of astronomical objects such as the Orion Nebula, the Whirlpool Galaxy and the Pleiades Cluster — objects that are nearly impossible to see with a typical backyard telescope. Slooh.com’s telescopes are stationed five hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, which enables members in North America to see the night sky during daylight hours in the U.S., starting at 2pm EST. Based in New York, NY, Slooh.com’s partners include Discovery.com, Astronomy Magazine, & VSNL, one of the largest broadband companies in India.