Newly discovered comet could be spectacular sight in fall 2013. Located beyond Jupiter’s orbit now. Heading for close encounter with our sun next year.
Astronomers have discovered a new comet. It is currently moving in front of the stars of the constellation Cancer the Crab. It’s out beyond Jupiter’s orbit still, now, but it’s heading for a close encounter with the sun in 2013. Called C/2012 S1 (ISON) by astronomers, its orbital characteristics indicate it might become a very bright object in Earth’s sky, beginning in November 2013. If so, all of us around the globe should be able to see it late next year.
At its discovery in September 2012, Comet C2012 S1 (ISON) was beyond the orbit of the 5th planet from our sun, Jupiter. It will sweep into the inner solar system in 2013. This is a false color image of the comet, showing the coma surrounding the comet’s central nucleus, via Remanzacco Observatory.
This comet’s orbit will bring it near the sun in 2013. By November 2013, it might become a bright comet to the eye! Image via NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Eastern European and Russian astronomers announced the new comet on September 24, 2012. Discovery magnitude was 18.8 – in other words, extremely faint. Vitali Nevski of Vitebsk, Belarus and Artyom Novichonok of Kondopoga, Russia spotted the comet on CCD images obtained on September 21 with a 0.4-m f/3 Santel reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. Afterwards, astronomers at Remanzacco Observatory in Italy confirmed the comet’s presence with the image above.
No doubt about it … comets have a mystique. Once considered omens of doom, we now know them as icy visitors from the outer solar system that sweep near our sun, then disappear again into the depths of space, perhaps never to return. People get excited about comets. They are temporary visitors to our region of the solar system. This comet will be no exception.
In November 2013, Comet ISON will pass less than 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) from the sun’s surface. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually quite close – over 100 times closer to the sun than Earth. This near sweep past the sun might keep distant enough to prevent its breaking to pieces, as sometimes happens. If all goes well, the terrific heating Comet ISON will undergo when it’s closest to our parent star might turn the comet into a bright naked-eye object.
Comet Lovejoy was a sight to behold from Earth’s Southern Hemisphere in late 2011. Here the comet is reflected in the water of Mandurah Esturary near Perth on December 21, 2011. Image Credit: Colin Legg.
Of course, comets don’t always live up to expectations. Comet ISON might break up into fragments, as the much-hyped Comet Elenin did around August 2011.
On the other hand, Comet ISON might survive its encounter with the sun as Comet Lovejoy did in late 2011. If so, it might go on to illuminate our skies with its beauty. And there is one thing we can count on. That is, if Comet ISON does become a bright comet, visible to the eyes of watching earthlings, it will be beautiful. All bright comets are.
If it does survive its close encounter with the sun in 2013, and if it does become bright enough to be seen with the eye, astronomers say Comet ISON’s best appearance won’t be limited to just one hemisphere as Comet Lovejoy’s was. It’ll be visible to all of us in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for at least a couple of months, from about November 2013 through January 2014. If so … worth the wait!
Bottom line: The comet called C/2012 S1 (ISON) by astronomers is out beyond Jupiter’s orbit now. But it’s headed for a close encounter with our sun in 2013 and might become a spectacular sight from all of Earth around November of next year.
Your Smartphone Broadcasts Your Entire Life To The Secret Service 2014 09 23
Intelligence services collect metadata on the communication of all citizens. Politicians would have us believe that this data doesn’t say all that much. A reader of De Correspondent put this to the test and demonstrated otherwise: metadata reveals a lot more about your life than you think.
Ton Siedsma is nervous. He made the decision weeks ago, but keeps postponing it. ...
Scots were tricked into voting ‘No’ – Salmond 2014 09 23
London politicians gulled Scottish voters out of independence by making a false “vow” to grant Glasgow extra powers, First Minister Alex Salmond has said. He also raised the prospect of another referendum, saying the break-up is inevitable.
Alex Salmond, leader of the ’Yes’ campaign and the outgoing head of the Scottish National Party (SNP), told the BBC’s Sunday Politics program that ...
The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 2014 09 23 The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
Suspected Ebola patient Finda “Zanabo” prays over her sick family members before being admitted to the Doctors Without Borders Ebola treatment center on Aug. 21, 2014, near Monrovia, Liberia. Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa has spiraled out of control, affecting thousands of Liberians, Sierra Leonians, and Guineans, ...
Man bitten by Ebola patient flown to Switzerland 2014 09 22
Swiss authorities say a male nurse who was bitten by an Ebola patient while working in West Africa has been flown to Switzerland as a precaution.
The health ministry says the unidentified man was working for an international organization in Sierra Leone when he was bitten by a child infected with Ebola on Saturday.
The ministry says the nurse was wearing protective ...