Two Russian astronomers recently discovered a previously unknown comet. The discovery was made using CCD images, and scientists believe the comet may become very bright late next year. The comet is expected to be bright because it will pass extremely close to the sun and then pass “somewhat” close to the earth.
The comet is officially known as C/2012 S1 (ISON), and it will be better viewed by people in the northern hemisphere. The astronomers who discovered the comet are Artyom Novichonok and Vitaly Nevski. The duo discovered the comet when viewing CCD images taken on September 21 using a 0.4-meter telescope that is part of the Scientific Optical Network (ISON) located in Kislovodsk, Russia.
Right now, the comet is said to be very dim at about 10,000 times fainter than the faintest star visible to the unaided eye. However, scientists expect the comet will brighten dramatically as it gets closer to the sun. The comet is expected to pass 1.16 million miles from the sun on November 28, 2013.
There’s a chance that the comet will become bright enough when it passes near the Sun to be visible during the day. Once the comet makes its orbit around the sun it could even be visible in the morning and evening skies. The comet will pass 40,000,000 miles from Earth and could possibly remain visible to the unaided eye through January of 2014.
[via PC Mag]