November 28-December 8, 2013

South Bend, Indiana

Comet ISON Near the Sun

Posted by chuck // November 22, 2013 // in Comets // 0 Comments

A gallery of Comet ISON images shows it has been a stunning sight through telescopes.  As it accelerated toward the sun in November, Comet ISON brightened until it was visible to the naked eye in the morning sky.  Along the way the comet has grown multiple filaments in its tail, exhibited varying colors, had disconnection events, and sprouted wings--multiple highlights best described by astronomers in blog posts of the NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC).

Andrews-observers.JPGThough it has not been monstrously bright and viagra super active australia widely viewed by the public, Comet ISON has been visible to the more dedicated observers willing to cialis generic best price get up early and find a location with a reasonably low horizon.  Slowly the comet's brightness climbed, at first visible only in big telescopes, then improving in November until it could readily be seen in binoculars and finally, briefly, to the naked eye.  The week before ISON reaches the sun, the faint comet with its diffuse tail is simply overwhelmed by the combined light of the full moon and morning twilight. 

Three Scenarios

Comet ISON is now in the home stretch.  There are three basic scenarios that could unfold.  Comet ISON could disintegrate before it even reaches the sun.  Astronomer Matthew Knight writes in a blog post What Might Happen?,

While it would be extremely disappointing to miss out on a potential naked-eye comet, the scientific return from a disintegration would be phenomenal as we will be able to learn a lot about how the comet is order cialis without perscription put together. This is particularly interesting because the viagra best price on net formation and construction of canada meds comets is still one of the major mysteries concerning how the planets in the solar system were built.

In a second possible outcome, Comet ISON is destroyed by the sun's tidal forces and/or heat around November 28, which is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, when Comet ISON makes its closest approach to the sun (perihelion). If the icy comet has survived that far, it will undergo the greatest stresses and be most vulnerable.  The sun's gravity could rip apart the fragile chunk of ice and dirt and viagra 25mg other components, which would then vaporize in the searing heat.

dacota-turkey-crop.jpgThanksgiving is a big day for the little visitor, whose long journey originated from the cold depths far from the sun.  If Comet ISON's death knell happens near perihelion, you can watch the spectacle through the field of view of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). Definitely see  This amazing spacecraft will target ISON in mutliple wavelengths beginning shortly after noon on November 28.  Make it a part of your 2013 Thanksgiving celebration.

In the third scenario Comet ISON escapes its brush with finality, smaller but intact.  Hopefully it will sprout a significant tail, for on the buy cialis super active back side of perihelion the full moon will have diminished and the December nights will be longer. Comet ISON isn't the only celestial target for observers, as noted in December Morning Telescope Views, for several planets complement the morning stargazing session.

Encroaching Twilight

twilight-times-Dec2013.pngThe calendar showing December twilight times suggests best viewing opportunities, which are admittedly early in the morning.  For example, on Thursday, December 5, full darkness ends at Astronomical Twilight (Twi A) at 6:16 a.m.  From this time on, morning light is starting to creep into the sky.  By Nautical Twilight (Twi N) at 6:50 a.m. the view is much degraded, though telescopes will likely still be no prescription viagra useful in allowing you to see the comet's coma.  At Civil Twilight (Twi) at 7:25 a.m. you're celebrating the morning's events and looking for a place to warm up.

In the ensuing weeks, Comet ISON moves into the northern sky as it dashes nearly over the buy viagra mexico earth--at a safe distance of 40 million miles--on December 26, 2013.  If it has survived that long, it will likely be a telescopic object, but at least it will have moved into the north circumpolar skies so you can see it in the more friendly evening hours instead of just early morning. 

Stay tuned. Regardless of the visual spectacle, Comet ISON is delivering a bundle of scientific news that merits our attention.  For the lastest news, stick with the informed folks of the NASA CIOC.  For an overview of the comet story, see the PBS Special Comet Encounter.

About the Author



You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »