Comet ISON’s fate will be clear Thursday

Shane McGlaun - Nov 27, 2013, 7:36 am CST
Comet ISON’s fate will be clear Thursday

We’ve talked plenty about the comet ISON around here as it makes its trip towards the sun. The comet has the potential to put on one of the best light shows in recent history, assuming it survives its brush with the sun. The sun has already been doing a number on ISON, shrinking it smaller size as it gets closer to its Thanksgiving Day brush with the sun.

Tomorrow ISON will make its closest pass by the sun and either break up or survive to go down in history as one of the brightest comets ever. Scientists estimate the ISON is currently thought to be less than 1.6 kilometers wide. If ISON survives, it could brighten enough to be seen with the naked eye during the day.

If that happens, it will be the first time since the 1600s a comet has been visible in the day. The odds of a firey death or glowing survival story are so close scientists don’t want to lay odds on ISON’s fate. The comet is speeding up as it nears the sun.

Back in January, the comet was moving at 64000kmh. Last Thursday it had accelerated to 240000khm. The comet will continue to accelerate and after it slingshots around the sun it will be moving at a staggering 1,332,000kmh. The closet approach of ISON to the Earth will happen on December 26, assuming it survives the sun. If ISON survives, it is never expected to come back into our solar system. ISON is the most watched comet every observed by NASA.

“Every spacecraft that has a camera, we’re turning on it,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s science mission director.


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