CometWatch, an app for iPhone and iPad can help to point comet-gazer users in the right direction for Comet ISON. The exact path of the comet is still very speculative. Its tail may enter Earth’s orbit or perhaps miss the Earth by a long shot. Its brightness will be intense enough to be seen from Earth — for sure. In fact it will be very bright and visible right at Christmas time.
ISON began its journey from the Oort cloud of icy objects that are in solar orbit far beyond Neptune. That was about a million years ago. This is ISON’s first trip through the inner solar system.
On November 28, Comet ISON will pass less that 750,000 miles from the Sun and it may be traveling at as much as 175,000 mph as it swings about the sun. On Thanksgiving, the sun-grazer comet’s swing around the sun may cause changes to it and the debris field (tail).
Its a BIG unknown as to what may happen as the comet comes close to our sun. Most likely, at least some of it will survive.
By early December, ISON will be visible in both the evening and morning skies and December 26, it will be less that 40 million miles from Earth. The comet has apparently picked up lots of extra debris from the asteroid belt.
Comet’s ISON’s recent outburst of activity has done more than simply brighten the comet. Whatever exploded from the comet’s core also created a spectacularly-long tail, more than 16 million kilometers (139 million miles) from end to end. Its the largest comet — ever. As the comet swings around the sun, expect the unexpected. This is uncharted territory.
[I love the reverb voice in the first video -- spooky stuff at a distance]
Use these tools to learn more:
You may also learn more at NASA:
A Timeline Of Comet ISON’s Dangerous Journey
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