Posted on September 26, 2012 by thetruthbehindthescenes| Leave a comment
Astronomy forums are buzzing with speculation about newly-discovered 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. In January 2014, the comet will approach to within 0.4 AU (59.9 million km) of Earth.
On October 2013 it will be passing very near both Mars and the bright
star Regulus — both can be used as benchmarks to sighting the comet.
The fierce heating it experiences then could turn the comet into a
bright naked-eye object. That suggests the comet could become brighter
than the full moon.
The discovery of the object named Comet ISON was announced Monday
(Sept. 24) by Russians Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, who detected
it in photographs taken three days earlier using a 15.7-inch
(0.4-meter) reflecting telescope of the International Scientific Optical
Network (ISON), near Kislovodsk.
Much about this comet–and its ultimate fate–remains
unknown. “At this stage we’re just throwing darts at the board,” says
Karl Battams of the NASA-supported Sungrazer Comet Project, who lays out
“In the best case, the comet is big, bright, and skirts
the sun next November. It would be extremely bright — negative
magnitudes maybe — and naked-eye visible for observers in the Northern
Hemisphere for at least a couple of months.”
“Alternately, comets can and often do fizzle out! Comet Elenin springs to mind as a recent example.
The most exciting aspect of this new comet concerns its preliminary orbit, which bears a striking resemblance to that of the “Great Comet of 1680.”
That comet put on a dazzling show; it was glimpsed in daylight and
later, as it moved away from the sun, it threw off a brilliantly long
tail that stretched up from the western twilight sky after sunset like a
narrow searchlight beam for some 70 degrees of arc. (A person’s
clenched fist, held at arm’s length, covers roughly 10 degrees of sky.)
The fact that the orbits are so similar seems to suggest Comet ISON
and the Great Comet of 1680 could related or perhaps even the same
Orbit Diagram Comet ISON: JPL Small-Body Database
Thanks to: http://www.thetruthbehindthescenes.org