Thursday, September 27, 2012

Up in the Sky- it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a comet?

Comet ISON was identified in the skies first by7 two Russians - Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok on September 24th. It hails from the Oort cloud. (The location of the Oort cloud can be seen in the picture to the right. The Kuiper Belt is a simple ring where as the Oort Cloud is tubular in nature and extends out to about 50,00 AU.)

The path of this comet is a hot one. Late November 2013 it should pass within 725,00 miles/1.25 kms and if it survives then in October 2013 it makes an appearance very close to Mars. This could mean we get a front row seat to the movie through Curiosity’s eyes.

This could be a dazzling comet of incredible brightness (some claim it will be brighter than the moon!) or a tribute to the dud of 1973, too soon to tell. But next year in March we get Comet Pan-STARRS and then in November its Comet ISON. Not a bad year!

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