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Comet Ison set to provide spectacular show


Posted on Wednesday, 27 November, 2013 | Comment icon 19 comments

Will comet Ison survive its encounter with the sun ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL
It will soon be crunch time for the 'comet of the century' as it passes through the corona of the sun.
Originally a resident of the Oort cloud, a large region of icy bodies located approximately one light year from the sun, comet Ison has been the subject of great interest recently due to its potential to provide one of the most spectacular celestial light shows of the generation.

Believed to be up to 4.6 billion years old, the comet will soon be passing through the sun's corona and scientists don't know exactly what is going to happen. The rendezvous is set to take place on November 28th and will be the defining moment in the comet's journey across the solar system.

One possibility is that when Ison reaches the sun it will be pulled apart by the gravitational forces, causing the whole comet to explode. Another possibility is that the sun's heat will be too much for it to handle and the comet will simply fizzle out.

The third and final option, the one everyone is hoping for, is that as it passes through the corona the comet's gases will be ignited, leaving a brilliant trail burning behind it. If this happens then it should produce a spectacular light show that will be visible all across the northern hemisphere for most of December.

Source: Independent | Comments (19)

Tags: Ison, Comet


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by shaddow134 on 27 November, 2013, 19:51
Will be nice to see a once in a lifetime celestial event.Not so sure about phrophetic fairy tales..
Comment icon #11 Posted by Sundew on 27 November, 2013, 19:59
The last halfway decent comets in my lifetime happened about 15 years ago if memory serves. Under the clear skies of Park City, Utah you could see the first one hanging in the sky and you could see it quite clearly. The second later that year, (I think) under the humid skies of home, was just a hazy bluish blob of light in the sky. Most of the others that were supposed to be "spectacular" just never panned out and some were abject failures as far as sky watchers were concerned. Of course I realize that you are dealing with unpredictable objects of somewhat unknown composition regarding ice to ... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 27 November, 2013, 20:00
It loops around the sun November 28th and flies past Earth December 25, 2013. "Flies past the Earth" is not really an accurate deion as it never gets closer than about 0.43 AU (64,000,000 km; 40,000,000 mi). You are also out by a day as it's closest point to the Earth is on 26th December not 25th.
Comment icon #13 Posted by CRYSiiSx2 on 27 November, 2013, 21:11
pretty sure his post was being a bit festive considering that is christmas...
Comment icon #14 Posted by Hawkin on 28 November, 2013, 0:07
The last halfway decent comets in my lifetime happened about 15 years ago if memory serves. Are you referring to the comet Hail Bop?
Comment icon #15 Posted by ancient astronaut on 28 November, 2013, 0:25
Bring it on. I love comet watching.
Comment icon #16 Posted by aearluin on 28 November, 2013, 22:06
I hope Ison makes it through the sun. I want a nice show!
Comment icon #17 Posted by regeneratia on 28 November, 2013, 22:48
A small fragment could have survived. http://www.solarham.net/pictures/archive/nov28_2013_comet_ison5.jpg
Comment icon #18 Posted by thyra on 28 November, 2013, 22:53
i can live without it. 3D movies are enough for excitement already.
Comment icon #19 Posted by CyberKen on 29 November, 2013, 16:34
I hope Ison makes it through the sun. I want a nice show! It did survive and it is right on course. BTW, some people are calling Comet ISON : Blue Star Kachina.


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