|Photo of Comet ISON taken November 10, 2013, shows blue coma and a double tail! Photo by Michael Jäger of Jauerling Austria|
Update: December 31, 2013: Is ISON still there or isn't it? The general public is still getting the runaround regarding if Comet ISON is still alive, but a recent posting from an amateur astronomer claims to have discovered what is believed to be the debris cloud of the comet (above photograph).
Update: Although currently not as bright as astronomers predicted it would be at this time, Comet ISON is still putting on a spectacular show. Scientists believe it will survive its close encounter with the sun and perhaps be visible to the naked eye by mid to late November, 2013!
A recently discovered comet will make an extremely dramatic flyby past Earth and give our planet a spectacular show.
Comet ISON was discovered this week by Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The new comet is officially known as C/2012 S1, with ISON an acronym for the International Scientific Optical Network, the telescope used to discover the comet.
At its perihelion (its closest point to the sun), due on November 28, 2013, Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the comet will come within 800,000 miles of the sun’s surface and could evolve into a dazzling celestial body, possibly bright enough to be visible in broad daylight. [edit:] National Geographic has stated on their official site that the comet WILL be the brightest in human history and will be brighter than a full moon.]
The possibility of the comet being visible in the daytime skies will make it one of the most exciting comets to whiz past the earth in a long while. Comet ISON will be barely visible to the unaided eye when it is in the predawn sky positioned against the stars of Leo in October 2013. ISON will then travel north after perihelion and become visible during December both in the evening sky after sunset and in the morning sky before sunrise in certain latitudes of the planet. Just how bright it will be and how long the tail may get during this time frame is not yet known, but it is possible it will be one of the greatest comets in history, if it does not break up while approaching the sun, as comets tend to do.
The prophet Nostradamus had quite a bit to say about comets and the 2012 "time frame":
After great misery for mankind an even greater one approaches, when the great cycle of the centuries is renewed. It will rain blood, milk, famine, war and disease. In the sky will be seen a fire, dragging a tail of sparks.
The great star for seven days will burn, The cloud will cause two suns to appear: The big mastiff all night will howl, When the great pontiff changes countries.
The great star in the quatrain is believed to be a comet while the "cloud" is the comet's coma or tail.
Mother Shipton also made similar prophecies:
A fiery dragon will cross the sky - 7A: The first comet cluster appears.
six times before the earth shall die (has died). - 8: It has appeared 6 times before. (Comet ISON is believed to be an "offspring" of the Great Comet of 1680)
Mankind will tremble and frightened be - 2: Pervasive global fear, 1926 - 2026.
for the six heralds in this prophecy. - 1: Mass death - Subject of this Prophecy.
|Simulation of how Comet ISON will look in the sky during daylight hours. Photo credit Universe Today.|