Skip to comments.Comet ISON shaping up to be a spectacular display
Posted on 01/16/2013 4:04:36 PM PST by BenLurkin
Excitement is mounting for astronomers and star gazers the world over as word spreads that Comet ISON may go down in the history books as one of the flashiest ever. First discovered in September of last year by Russian astronomers, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) has been drawing attention ever since.
Of course, projecting the brilliance of a comet or its tail length is an iffy proposition to be sure. It could just break apart when it nears the sun (it's expected to come as close as 32,000 miles), leaving us here on Earth less than impressed with the results, (see Comet Kohoutek - 1973.) More optimistically, because of its size and orientation, it might just present us with the brightest comet show ever seen.
Right now Comet ISON is in Jupiter's orbit, hurtling towards a rendezvous with the sun. As it approaches, bits of it will be vaporized, leading to the creation of a tail. Once it arrives, it will whip around the sun at approximately 425,000 mph and then head back into space passing our planet on its way, allowing us to see it in all its finery.
The best viewing time for the comet is expected to be early in the morning before the sun comes up, as it approaches, and then at both pre-dawn and just after the sun sets as the comet is leaving. When it's approaching, its tail will follow behind it, but as it's leaving, due to solar wind, it will be following its own tail. Estimates on Comet ISON's brightness vary some suggest it might be equal in luminescence to the planet Mars, while others hint that it might be as bright as the moon, which means it would be visible even during daylight hours.
(Excerpt) Read more at phys.org ...
We will soon see the usual suspects claiming it will kill us all.
Wait for Terral03 to post more hilarious videos online about how we should hide in a cave with him.
That is, unless he’s still hiding in a cave after Elenin fizzled out.
Huh? The sun is 800,000 miles in diameter. It is quite warm. It ain't gonna survive if it comes that close. It'll have to go by at night. ;0)
After Haley’s, Khotek and the others that have been a disappointment, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Ditto. We've been set up too many times with hype that fizzled.
Comet West in Feb. 1976 was quite impressive.
When is supposed to be visible? I did not see that in the article. Thanks
During August 2013, it should become bright enough to be visible through small telescopes or binoculars, becoming visible to the naked eye by late October or early November and remaining so until mid-January 2014.
In before the Kahoutek snarks (I hope, actually didn’t check).
Hale-Bopp was pretty good. I got some decent pictures of it even in the mucked up skies of Prince George’s County, Peoples’ Demokratik Republik of Maryland ...
I remember going (downhill snow) sliding with my then 10 yo son in early April of 1997. We were still sliding past sunset. Comet Hale-Bopp was easily visible almost immediately after the sun disappeared over the horizon.
It was quite spectacular.
According to Space Weather, On Nov. 28, 2013, it will fly through the sun’s outer atmosphere only 1.2 million km from the stellar surface below. If the comet survives the encounter, it could emerge glowing as brightly as the Moon, ...”
(quibble: 865,000 miles)
Comets graze the Sun quite often, most survive, some don’t.
Comet Encke took a lickin’, kept on tickin’:
Not quite IBTKS....
missed by THAT much! LOL! (And he didn’t spell it right)
Thanks for the ping, though,hahaha.
Later this year sometime in the Fall I think.
There have been some great comets in the last 50 or so years.
Kohouteck was a fizzle, but, then there was Comet West a few years later. It looked like a giant spotlight in the sky. IT was HUGH! I am SIRIUS!
Halley’s wasn’t bad either in 1986. Up to that point, it was the second brightest comet I had seen, West being the first.
Then there was the Great Comets of the 90’s Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp.
In the last few years, Comet McNaught 2006 (the great comet of 2007) and Lovejoy in 2012 have made quite a splash recently.
Will ISON make it? Who knows. They thought Lovejoy was going to disappear and it put on a great show. Just wish it would be in the evening, not, the morning.
Also, in March, look for Comet PANSTARRS. It may give us something at sunset in the middle of the month.
This was a good one too.
It just went zipping by stars while you watched.
Would have embedded them, but, I never have much luck with that. Click and enjoy.
Interesting. Note, though, that the universetoday article says that Enckes perihelion is .332 AU. This would place it about 29 MILLION miles from the sun’s surface. The article says that ISON might come 30 THOUSAND miles from the surface.
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