Scientists eye large, newly discovered comet that might crash into the sun in 2013

September 25, 2012SPACE - Astronomy forums are buzzing with speculation about newly-discovered Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON). Currently located beyond the orbit of Jupiter, Comet ISON is heading for a very close encounter with the sun next year. In Nov. 2013, it will pass less than 0.012 AU (1.8 million km) from the solar surface. The fierce heating it experiences then could turn the comet into a bright naked-eye object. Much about this comet–and its ultimate fate–remains unknown. “At this stage we’re just throwing darts at the board,” says Karl Battams of the NASA-supported Sungrazer Comet Project, who lays out two possibilities: “In the best case, the comet is big, bright, and skirts the sun next November. It would be extremely bright — negative magnitudes maybe — and naked-eye visible for observers in the Northern Hemisphere for at least a couple of months. Alternately, comets can and often do fizzle out! Comet Elenin springs to mind as a recent example, but there are more famous examples of comets that got the astronomy community seriously worked up, only to fizzle. This is quite possibly a ‘new’ comet coming in from the Oort cloud, meaning this could be its first-ever encounter with the Sun. If so, with all those icy volatiles intact and never having been truly stressed (thermally and gravitationally), the comet could well disrupt and dissipate weeks or months before reaching the sun.” Either of the above scenarios is possible, as is anything in between,” Battams says. “There’s no doubt that Comet ISON will be closely watched. Because the comet is so far away, however, our knowledge probably won’t develop much for at least a few more months.”  Meanwhile, noted comet researcher John Bortle has pointed out a curious similarity between the orbit of Comet ISON and that of the Great Comet of 1680. “Purely as speculation,” he says, “perhaps the two bodies could have been one a few revolutions ago.” –Space Weather
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7 Responses to Scientists eye large, newly discovered comet that might crash into the sun in 2013

  1. pastor ken says:

    What is lurking in the Oort cloud that is sending all these new comets into our solar system?

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  2. So, what’s the effect on Earth if it is a direct hit. We have watched other comets get eaten by the sun?

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  3. lewonton says:

    Could not find any comment on the size of this comet.

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  4. Warren H. says:

    Since we already know if we shot every nuke on earth at the sun and think it wouldn’t harm it. I don’t think a comet will do much damage either or cause any disruption in our sun. Considering it would probably break up before it actually impacted.. some real data on this would be appreciated.

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  5. Bob says:

    333 years from 1680 to 2013.

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  6. I HAVE HAD MANY VISIONS, I WROTE A LETTER TO BUD HOPKINS & WHITLEY STRIEBER BACK IN EARLY 80S, ABOUT 2012, I EVEN DREW PICTURES, THE SUN IN THE CENTER & 5 PLANETS ON THE RIGHT, & 5 ON THE LEFT THE 10 COMING ON THE S.PACIFIC SIDE, WERE IT COULD BE VIEWED, THEN A HOUR GLASS TYPE VORTEX THAT COULD SUCK A PLANET OUT OF ITS ORBIT? I HERD THE WORDS, EARTHS EQUINOX, & THE END OF TIME, & JUNCTION, ? OF OUR GALAXY MERGED WITH THE OTHER!”?THE TRAVELOR WILL ORBIT THE SUN,& CAUSE EFECT WITH EARTH & OTHER PLANETS IN OUR GALAXY! “

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