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Oct 06 2012

Comet ISON could be spectacular

With the caveat of Kohoutek in mind, Comet ISON is shaping up to be a once in a lifetime event:

Link– Although the comet was super-faint when discovered (at magnitude 18.8, it was about 100 times dimmer than Pluto), its calculated orbit will carry it extraordinarily close to the Sun, and then a few weeks later, very close to Earth. At the end of November 2013, the comet will approach to a mere 1.1 million miles of the Sun, or 30 times closer to the Sun than the charbroiled planet Mercury. This should not quite destroy it, but instead cause much of its ices to sublimate into a spectacularly long tail, releasing trapped pebbles and dust that will also spread out for a million miles or more. Unfortunately, it will then hover only 4.4 degrees north of the Sun, and it will probably be unseen in the solar glare.

Immediately after reaching this solar near-point, or perihelion, Comet ISON heads in a direction optimally favorable for us: north. Developing an ever-greater, even-more-spectacular tail, it should be as bright as Venus, and may even cast shadows! We in the Northern Hemisphere will get the best views as Christmas approaches. Then, on January 8, 2014, the comet passes just two degrees from Polaris, the North Star, as it zooms just 37.2 million miles from Earth.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Dunc

    Here’s hoping!

  2. 2
    Trebuchet

    Obviously someone’s miscalculated the date of the Mayan Apocalypse by about a year!

  3. 3
    rowanvt

    eeeeeee! Can’t wait can’t wait can’t wait!

  4. 4
    Dan J

    Now I really need to get a small telescope with clock drive so I can hook my camera up to it.

  5. 5
    Alex

    ZOMG! Don’t you see the signs??? The christmas star has returned! The tortured lamb will return from the shambles to once more suffer like it’s 0032! The whore of babylon will ravenously and rambunctiously ravage the righteous! December 2012! Suddenly, it all makes sense! Repent, unbelievers, before it is too late! Christians, transfer all your money to my bank account where I will keep it safe after you are beamed up.

    In other news, I’m so buying a tracking mount for my refractor and DSLR before November! This should give some sweet pictures especially in the latter.

  6. 6
    Alex

    Ok this is only in November 2013, but everyone knows that there is no year 0, and when you start counting with year 1, it’s 2013 instead of 2012. Details, people, details.

  7. 7
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    Ok this is only in November 2013, but everyone knows that there is no year 0, and when you start counting with year 1, it’s 2013 instead of 2012. Details, people, details.

    Details? The Mayans didn’t know about leap years. That’s 514 days they missed. So technically, even with adding the extra year for year ’0′, the world still should have ended back in July.

  8. 8
    kevincurran

    Nice article – it will be exciting to see if Comet ISON or Encke turn out to be good naked-eye comets in 2013.

    I just built a new comet site which can be found at http://www.fallofathousandsuns.com/comets.html

    The site lists comets visiting our inner solar system in chronological order long into the future and has some amazing pics of comets. Please support me with a facebook like, and I’ll continue to build it long into the future.

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