There is an Internet conspiracy theory floating around that Comet ISON is traveling with 7 companions as it travels through the Solar System. This is an inaccurate assumption.
This conspiracy theory began when a simple gif animation of Comet ISON was posted on SpaceWeather.com on January 16, 2013 and on Twitter on January 17, 2013 at 4:15 a.m. by the BBC’s The Sky at Night host (presenter) Pete Lawrence. The only intention of the gif animation was to show Comet ISON’s status in the sky at that time as viewed from Selsey, West Sussex, UK.
The gif animation featured imagery that was captured on January 15, 2013 at 23:01 UT through January 16, 2013 at 00:59 UT. The gif animation of ISON was compiled from photos taken through a Vixen 4-inch refractor telescope.
After the gif animation was posted unto Twitter, someone noticed what appeared to be unusual activity within the animation. A video was then created by a different person and uploaded unto YouTube on January 18, 2013 with the title of “Comet ISON Not Traveling Alone.” The video was later removed.
On January 19, 2013, Lawrence commented on Twitter that the objects on the gif animation were nothing more than “hot pixels which got through despite the frames being dark-calibrated.” The hot pixels seen in the imagery were basically nothing more than “individual pixels that look much brighter than they should.”
Other videos were subsequently uploaded to YouTube after January 18, 2013 with the inaccurate assumption that objects were following behind or with ISON.
These are samples of some of the inaccurate and sensationalized videos:
“BREAKING NEWS COMET C/2012 S1 ISON FOLLOWED BY ONE OR TWO UNKNOWN OBJECTS”
“COMET ISON IS BEING TAILED BY TWO UNKNOWN OBJECTS.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Each YouTube video uploader commented in the title line on what appeared to be one or two unusual objects in the animation. Each video also shows inverted imagery towards the end of the video of the original gif animation.
On January 22, 2013, this observation evolved into some seeing up to 7 different objects within the animation.
This would result in more YouTube videos being posted with the original gif animation with reinterpreted information.
Here is another sample of an inaccurate and sensationalized video:
“COMET ISON 2012 MAY HAVE 7 COMPANIONS 1st VIDEO”
January 20, 2013 posting … !!!!!!! … THIS JUST IN … IT IS TOO EARLY TO CONFIRM BUT SOME INITIAL DATA SUGGESTS THAT COMET C/2012/S1 HAS AT LEAST ONE COMPANION AND POSSIBLY UP TO SEVEN … WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS ONE HAS TO BE VERY CAUTIOUS BUT AFTER EXAMINING THE DATA THAT I HAVE SEEN I WOULD SAY THAT IT APPEARS TO BE REAL …
And the uploader continues quoting the website:
FURTHERMORE ONE OF THE POSSIBLE COMPANIONS APPEARS TO BE AT ABOUT TWO LUNAR DISTANCES (HALF A MILLION MILES) AND HAS NOT FORMED A COMA FOR SOME ODD REASON … IF THE OBJECT IS ORBITING THE NUCLEUS OF THE COMET AT THAT DISTANCE IT IMPLIES THAT THE NUCLEUS OF THIS COMET IS POSSIBLY AS BIG OR BIGGER THAN EARTH … ALSO WITH COMPANIONS WE WILL BE ABLE TO DIRECTLY CALCULATE THE MASS AND THEREFORE THE SIZE OF THE COMET NUCLEUS … USING STANDARD ASTRONOMICAL METHODS … NASA TIER II SCIENTISTS HAVE ALREADY PUT THEIR FOOT IN THEIR MOUTHS WITH AN ESTIMATE BASED ON SOME GEEEE WHIZ BAD SCIENCE … AS I HAVE SAID BEFORE ONE OF THE BIGGEST OPEN LIES AT NASA IS CONCERNING THE SIZE OF COMET NUCLEI ALWAYS MINIMIZING THEM TO ALMOST NOTHING AND TRYING TO PROMOTE THEIR INCORRECT DIRTY SNOWBALL COMET MODEL … WE KNOW THEY CAN DIRECTLY MEASURE COMET NUCLEI WITH RADIO TELESCOPES SO WHY ALL THE BAD SCIENCE AND OPINIONED ESTIMATES ??? NORMALLY NO ONE WOULD BE ABLE TO CONTRADICT THEM…
And the uploader continues quoting:
NASA HAS BEEN EXTREMELY ACTIVE IN DAMAGE CONTROL ON THIS COMET AND JUST TODAY ISSUED A VIDEO CLEARLY DOING DAMAGE CONTROL … WHY ALL THE ANNOUNCEMENTS WHEN THE COMET (ACCORDING TO NASA) WILL NOT EVEN BE VISIBLE UNTIL NEXT NOVEMBER ?!?!?! STAY TUNED FOLKS THIS IS GETTING REEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL INTERESTING … jim mccanney