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2013-04-24 10:33:47


It's hurtling through space at approximately 47,000 mph. Its dust tail extends for more than 57,000 miles. And this fall it may appear as bright in our sky as the moon.

Its name is Comet ISON, and the Hubble Space Telescope has just snapped its first picture of what may become the comet of the century.

So far, scientists have had difficulty predicting how Comet ISON will react to its close brush with the sun that will take place in late November.

If the comet survives, scientists say the show could be dazzling here on Earth -- with the comet easily visible in the daytime sky, glowing as bright as the moon.


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2013-08-17 11:21:27




NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign



The NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign is a NASA-backed program tasked with encouraging and facilitating a massive, global and celestial observing campaign for Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON).

In November 2013, comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) will pass the Sun at just 0.012AU (~1.1-million kilometers above the solar surface), classifying it as a Sungrazing Comet, and potentially a spectacular one! Comet ISON is still far away, and as both a dynamically new object and a sungrazing comet, it is difficult to predict exactly how bright the comet will become in November. However, there does exist the potential for this to be one of the brighter comets of the past century. And even if it does not live up to that lofty goal, it will nonetheless be a relatively large sungrazing comet, fresh from the Oort Cloud, getting its first ever experience with the Sun's immense gravitational pull and intense radiation.

Regardless of ISON's brightness, these facts alone make it an extremely attractive target to astronomers, and one that is potentially rich with new science. To that end, NASA has requested a small committee of cometary experts to be formed and coordinate an observing campaign for this comet, under the assumption that it will enter the inner solar system during the middle of 2013 as at least a reasonably bright comet, and provide us with an unprecedented opportunity to witness the vaporizing of pristine solar system material as it nears perihelion.

This CIOC website is the hub for up-to-date information about Comet ISON, information on participation in the Campaign and how you can help, links to relevant observatories and programs, and blog postings from CIOC Team members. Over the coming weeks, as ISON makes its close approach to the Sun and an increasing volume of observations are made, you can expect to see a corresponding increase in the number of articles, blog posts and images appearing on the site.
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2013-08-17 11:26:32


Comet ISON Observations by an Amateur Observer


Animation of motion during 20-minutes on Aug 16 (11:29 to 11:49 UT).

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2013-08-25 11:56:54
last modified: 2013-08-25 12:01:14

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2013-09-27 12:40:17


Approaching Comet C/2012 S1 ISON - Updates [Videos]


Today, Comet ISON is 345 million kilometers away from Earth traveling at speed of 31.90 km/s. Throughout September ISON's average speed was 109 366 km/h or 67 957 mph.

It is about as bright as a 14th magnitude star, which is not as bright as some astronomers expected. Nevertheless, according to several experts Comet ISON is still on track to become an impressive sungrazer. John Bortle predicts ISON will rival Venus during the hours leading up to its closest approach to the Sun in November, while Matthew Knight notes that Comet ISON is brighter than Comet Lovejoy was at the same distance from the sun in 2011.

No matter how Comet ISON will behave in the coming days and months we now have a range of powerful satellites and a new generation of ground-based observatories which will all make this comet a rare and special treat for astronomers and scientific community. The comet will be dissected across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio to X-rays. “There's a lot of potential in studying ISON,” - Karen Meech of the Institute for Astronomy in Hawaii. “We'll have a huge amount of data to learn from.”

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2013-10-04 10:56:37


NASA releases first HiRISE images of ISON, comet of the century


Last Sunday, the space agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) positioned itself to aim its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera at ISON, as the comet zoomed by Mars on its journey into the inner Solar System.

Based on preliminary analysis of the data, the comet appears to be at the low end of the range of brightness predictions for the observation. The comet, like Mars, is currently 241 million kilometers from the Sun. As the comet gets closer to the sun, its brightness will increase to Earth-based observers and the comet may also become intrinsically brighter as the stronger sunlight volatilizes the comet’s ices.

ISON is expected to pass within 724,000 miles of the Sun on November 28, 2013.
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2013-11-29 00:17:53


Like Icarus, comet ISON appears to have flown too close to the sun and broken up in its corona.

Scientists had hoped that the comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system would be able to slingshot around the sun Thursday and emerge streaming a tail visible to the naked eye next month.

But after NASA telescopes tracked the comet plunging into the sun's corona, no evidence of it emerged on the other side. Scientists said they would continue to analyze imagery from the telescopes for signs of the comet or debris from it breaking up.

"At this point, I do suspect that the comet has broken up and died," says Karl Battams, a comet scientist for the Naval Research Laboratory, who joined a NASA and Google+ chat from Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona. "Let's at least give it a couple of more hours before we start writing the obituary."


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