Monday, November 18, 2013

COMET ISON IS.ON COURSE
TO BE THIS CENTURY'S BEST, BRIGHTEST

And since we know from Star Trek lore-history,it will not hit the Earth, everything's OK, no calamity fears.
I looked for Ison yesterday morning as I headed out for work early before local sunrise:  Clear pre-dawn, eastern skies in my windshield, but I saw nothing.  But thanks to Spaceweather.com and space.com, now I know where to look tomorrow morning.
It should be spectacular, something which we 40+-somethings will not see again.

COMET ISON'S SUPER TAIL: Comet's ISON's recent outburst of activity has done more than simply brighten the comet. Whatever exploded from the comet's core also created a spectacularly-long tail, more than 16 million kilometers from end to end.

Physically, ISON's tail is about 12 times wider than the sun.
So, when the head of ISON plunges into the sun's atmosphere on Nov. 28th, more than 15 million kilometers of the comet's tail will still be jutting into space behind it.



Comet ISON as photographed on Nov. 17th by Michael Jäger of Ebenwaldhöhe, Austria  YESTERDAY

Monitoring is encouraged. Comet ISON rises in the east just before the sun.  Dates of special interest include Nov. 18th when the comet passes the bright star Spica, 
making Comet ISON extra-easy to find.

Charging through our inner solar system, ISON will reach its perihelion, the point at which a comet comes closest to the sun, on Thanksgiving Day (November 28). 
At perihelion, ISON will come within 730,000 miles of the sun’s surface.

Forecasters have had a difficult time predicting just how bright ISON will be in the past few months. However, the comet has recently become many times brighter, increasing 16 times in brightness in just 72 hours, according to Space.com.

Carl Hergenrother, acting co-coordinator ( Read: flunkie ) of the comet section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, has confirmed (others') observations.


"ISON has dramatically brightened over the past few days," Hergenrother told SPACE.com.

"The latest observations put the comet around magnitude 5.7 to 6.1 which is a 2+ magnitude increase from this weekend. My own observations from this morning in 10x50 and 30x125 binoculars show a nice 'lollipop' comet with a very condensed blue-green head and a long narrow tail. The tail was over 1 degree in length even in the 10x50s. The comet may continue to brighten as the outburst is still in its early stages.

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