Comet ISON begins to brighten on its trip towards the sun

Nov 11, 2013
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Comet ISON begins to brighten on its trip towards the sun

Comet ISON has the potential be one of the brightest comets to fly past the Earth in many years. However, so far the brightness of the comet has been rather disappointing to astronomers and amateur skywatchers. The lack of brightness from the comet had led some to believe that it might not be as spectacular as previously hoped.

However, over the last few days ISON has become significantly brighter and it's tail has lengthened significantly. Astronomers are hoping that the brightening and lengthening of the tail of the comet has put it back on track for bright show when it makes its closest approach to the sun at the end of this month.

Scientists have reported that the gas production rate by the comet has increased rapidly over the last several days. According to one scientist, the increase in gas production rates could be due to an outburst or deeper layers of ice could have begun to melt. Astronomers also say that they do not believe the increase in brightness and lengthening tail have to do with disruption of the comet. Scientists reported last month that the comet was still intact.

As of now, scientists still believe the comet is intact. Astronomers around the world have come to a consensus that ISON has now brightened today magnitude 9.0. The lower its brightness magnitude, the brighter the comet is. Scientists also say that the faintest magnitude the human eye is capable of perceiving in a clear dark sky with no haze or bright light is 6.5. The comet will have to continue to brighten significantly to be seen without binoculars or a telescope.

SOURCE: Space.com


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