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

(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.

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Sep 27, 2012 2:41 PM CDT
Conversation in November 2013 : "That comet sure is getting bigger everyday! Hey, all the politicians are going into bunkers! Getting bigger! Wow look at the size of that thing! " SPLAT
Sep 27, 2012 1:38 PM CDT
It's hard to predict how visually dramatic a comet will be, and most candidates expected to be "great" in the past such as Comet Kohoutek (1973-74) have failed to deliver. But there was one in 1882 that was so bright it even appeared during daylight as an "appendage" to the sun, so you never know.
Sep 27, 2012 12:50 PM CDT
I couldn't help myself, I just had to vote "brilliant" on this story