ISON Comet May Become Brightest Object in the Night Skies

October 3, 2012

Space

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Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). Currently located beyond the orbit of Jupiter, Comet ISON is heading for a very close encounter with the sun next year. In Nov. 2013, it will pass less than 0.012 AU (1.8 million km) from the solar surface. Image credit: NASA

The comet ISON was recently discovered and it could possibly become the brightest object in the night skies. The comet was discovered a week ago by Russian astronomers and it’s currently between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn, heading for a very close encounter with the Sun.

C/2012 S1 (ISON) might also develop a spectacular tail. There’s also the possibility that it could break up when it gets closer to the Sun. Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok will continue examining it for the next 15 months. Astronomers will try to figure out the exact nature of this comet. It will pass Earth in late December 2013 and will pass less than 0.012 AU (1.8 million km) from the surface of Sol.

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A new comet discovered that may become one of brightest in history. Next year, this dim spot, comet ISON might outshine the moon Image credit: NASA

The comet may be bright enough to be visible in broad daylight with the naked eye when it gets closer. Currently ISON is quite faint, fainter than any stars that are visible without a telescope. It was first sighted 6.68 AU away from Earth and 6.27 AU from Sol, in the constellation of Cancer.

[via NASA]

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