Hey SPace Placers!
Deep in the cold of the solar system out near Jupiter is Comet ISON, a newly discovered comet that has the astronomical community abuzz with speculation and hope that it will put on a show later this year that will be one for the history books.
Comet ISON was discovered last September and when its orbit was calculated it turned out that this comet was a sun grazer - a comet that orbits very close to the Sun. Comet ISON will pass less than 600,000 miles from the Sun on November 28, 2013.
If the comet survives this very close encounter with our Sun it could become so bright that it will be visible during the day. What's more, for Northern Hemisphere observers the comet would be circumpolar which means it would be visible all night.
We won't know how this comet will behave as to its brightness until the comet is much closer to us and the Sun. Comets are NOTORIOUSLY fickle as to how they behave....previous "Comets of the Century" were colossal duds.
Maybe some of you remember Hale Bopp back in 1996-97. That was a GREAT comet as was the recent Comet Lovejoy down under. Comet Ikea-Seki was the last truly extraordinary comet with a huge sweeping tail that captured the attention of the whole world in the '60's.
I can only hope that Comet ISON will be THE Comet of the 21st Century that will allow all of us to view the grand splendor of a comet brighter than the Full Moon with an incredible tail sweeping across the sky.
Read More ABout It: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/18jan_cometison/
A hopeful Sky Guy in VA