Comet ISON was first spotted by amateur astronomers when it was still about 585 million miles away; out in deep space. This week its visible with binoculars and it will be visible by eye unaided in December.
You might enjoy the ISON photo gallery that setup shop at : http://spaceweathergallery.com/ison_gallery.html
As you may know, the fate of the comet is very speculative. 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. Reports indicate that the comet is not displaying properties of an icy object.
The comet is due to pass close to the sun in a few days and there is a good chance that the comet will meet with some partial destruction and certainly there are going to be changes to the comet or debris field as it passes around our sun.
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 (1500 times faster than a commercial jetliner) 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). 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.
Program Description 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.
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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