Comet ISON, Comet of the Century: 10 Things to Know about ‘Comet of the Century’

By @Len_IBTimes on

Comet ISON has been called the "Comet of the Century" for its potential to come very close to the sun later in the year. Scientists are watching its orbit closely, and they are happy to report there are still no signs that it will fail to make a spectacular show by November or December. Here are 10 things to know about ISON.

Comet ISON, Comet of the Century: 10 Things to Know

10. Comet ISON is about 3 to 4 miles in width.

9. ISON was first discovered in September 2012 by two Russian astronomers.

8. It is believed 2013 marks the first solar encounter by ISON, as it could have come from the Oort Cloud, where materials that spark a comet are abundant.

7. Comet ISON "could still become spectacularly bright as it gets very close to the Sun," said astronomer Karen Meech, of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy, a month ago. She pointed out, however, "I'd be remiss if I didn't add that it's still too early to predict what's going to happen with ISON since comets are notoriously unpredictable."

6. Comet ISON is predicted to approach within 1.2 million kilometres of the sun, a proximity that is very close and could make its tail burn much brighter than usual. Its "Comet of the Century" label is mostly for the combination of its close approach and the possibility that it is making its first solar encounter.

5. Records show comets making a first sun encounter could either show strong activity or fizzle out. (Astrophotographers and stargazers are optimistic ISON won't disappoint.)

4. In a report by Daily Mercury, James Barclay, a photographer and astronomer at the Maidenwell Observatory in southern Queensland, said Comet ISON would be visible to the naked eye at night.

3. If conditions remained favourable, Comet ISON could be seen looking like a very bright star during the day.

2. "Comet ISON has the potential to live up to the hype, but it also has the potential to do nothing," said Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab.

1. In December 2012, Comet ISON had been dragged into "last pope" and End of the World speculations due to alleged predictions by Nostradamus and St Malachy.

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'End of the World' 2013: St. Malachy Prophecy, Nostradamus, Comet ISON, and the 'Last Pope' Connections [READ]
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