Saturday, March 30, 2013

Update on Comet ISON

Hey Space Placers!

NASA has released an update on possible "Comet of the Century" ISON. Observations were made of the comet using NASA's Swift spacecraft which allowed the comet's size and dust and water production to be estimated.

The comet's nucleus is about 3 miles across and is estimated to be producing 112,000 pounds of dust and 130 pounds of water a minute. Not a bad production rate when you consider the icy body was almost a half-billion miles from the Sun.

We will be able to monitor Comet ISON better than ever before as it falls into the Sun, swings around at a very close distance and emerges hopefully on the other side. Such continuing observations will prove very valuable in determining cometary behavior. We'll also get an idea as to whether the comet will live up to the hype being afforded it.....only time and the comet will tell if it is deserved.

Read all about this icy interloper into our solar system from the depths of the Oort Cloud here:

Sky Guy in VA

Swift image of ISON
The Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope aboard NASA's Swift imaged comet ISON (center) on Jan. 30, when it was located about 3.3 degrees from the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini. At the time of this 5.5-minute optical exposure, ISON was about 5,000 times fainter than the limit of human vision.
Credit: NASA/Swift/D. Bodewits, UMCP

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