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The comet that is approaching, C/2012 S1, also known as Comet ISON and as Comet Nevski–Novichonok is thought by many a scientist to carry the pristine matter from the beginning of our solar system.

On Thanksgiving (a U.S. Holiday celebrated on November 28 this year) ISON will pass as close to our sun as 730,000 miles. Meantime it is heating up as it moves ever closer.

The latest speculation is on what will survive as the comet grazes the sun’s atmospheric (tidal wave) influences. Will it be destroyed, damaged, melted, or what?


ISON was named after the International Scientific Optical Network that was used by a pair of Russian astronomers to detect the comet in September 2012. It’s official name is C/2012 S1, indicating when it was discovered. The name Nevski–Novichonok comes from the names of the Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok that first discovered the comet.

Every lens in this part of the universe perhaps is trained on ISON. The Mars bound Maven spacecraft launched on November 18 may even capture ISON images during the second week of December as the spacecraft continues its journey toward Mars. MAVEN is the first spacecraft devoted to exploring the Martian upper atmosphere. Its trip to Mars will take 10 months and MAVEN is expected to begin an orbit around Mars in September of 2014.

Whatever becomes of ISON, I am sure that its coming will herald in new science regarding the forming and behavior of comets. I’d like to keep the focus on ISON for now though.

Thanks for learning with me.

New post Eric