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Comet ISON set to roast over Sun on Thanksgiving Day

Washington, Nov. 14 : Scientists have said that comet ISON will be passing about 700,000 miles above the Sun on Thanksgiving Day before whipping around and heading back toward deep space - if it survives.


It the comet does live, then it can easily be visible to the unaided eye for a few weeks after the encounter.

An automated asteroid-hunting telescope, part of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) in Russia, discovered Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) on September 21, 2012.

Some comet-watchers quickly suggested that it could become as bright as a full Moon late this year. Continued observations, however, show that it's not brightening as much as those optimistic projections indicated.

However, the comet appears to be holding together as it approaches the Sun, suggesting that it could survive the solar encounter, probably its first.

The comet will get brighter as it approaches the Sun, but more difficult to see through the Sun's glare. It will shine at its brightest as it passes the Sun, although it will be too close to the Sun to view safely.
As ISON approaches the Sun, the heat vaporizes some of the comet's icy surface. That surrounds it with a cloud of gas and dust that can span a hundred thousand miles or more. The Sun pushes some of this material outward to form a glowing tail.

ISON will pass closest to Earth on December 26, at a distance of about 40 million miles.

ISON probably came from the Oort Cloud, a vast shell of icy bodies that extends up to one light-year from the Sun.

--ANI (Posted on 14-11-2013)

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