Tuesday, October 29, 2013

comet ISON

when discovered late in 2012, many sources pointed out the potential for comet c/2012 s1 (ISON) to be incredibly bright after it passes around the sun and near the earth late this year!

so far, ISON has not disappointed several photographers around the world!

Comet ISON 27 Oct 2013 (Credit: Damian Peach)

Comet ISON 26 Oct 2013 (Credit: Mike Broussard)

when will we be able to see comet ISON with our eyes alone?  it will be visible from the southern hemisphere throughout november, but close to the eastern horizon.  here is an illustration from nick lomb showing visibility from sydney, australia.

Comet ISON and Mars as viewed from Sydney, Australia.  
ISON 1 shows the position of the comet on 1st November 2013
(Credit: Nick Lomb)

the mystery of comet ISON is that we cannot predict exactly how bright it will get because it may be hugely disrupted or even destroyed when it passes around the sun on 28th november.

this video from NASA gives an idea of just how close to the sun comet ISON will pass!  all comets have such elongated orbits, where they zoom in very close to the sun and then shoot way out to the farthest reaches of the solar system.

we'll just have to wait and see what happens to comet ISON when it grazes past the sun.  

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