Comet Far Brighter Than Moon on Its Way

ISON should be easy to spot in daylight

By Matt Cantor,  Newser User

Posted Sep 27, 2012 9:42 AM CDT
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(Newser) – Peer at the night sky just over a year from now, and you may spot a comet that's 15 times brighter than the moon. Comet ISON, due to be at its brightest on Nov. 28, 2013, will be so luminous that you should be able to see it in broad daylight, the Telegraph reports. Right now, the comet, observed by scientists in Russia, is near Jupiter's orbit and quite dim from Earth. But it will grow brighter until next November, when it passes some 1.2 million miles from the sun; at that point, it could shine brighter than the 20th century's most impressive comet.

Comet ISON's almost parabolic orbit suggests it's on its first journey through the solar system. That leads scientists to believe the chunk of rock and ice could have broken off the Oort Cloud, a huge collection of debris around the sun. Observers hope "to see it shining brilliantly and displaying a magnificent tail as it releases powerful jets of gas and dust," says an expert. But be warned: As a "sungrazer" comet, ISON could break up when it's near the sun, spoiling the show.

Comet ISON should be visible in broad daylight.
Comet ISON should be visible in broad daylight.   (Shutterstock)
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