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|Subject: Comet ISON visible to the naked eye: “if you want to see it, do it now” Mon Nov 18, 2013 2:12 am|| |
Comet ISON visible to the naked eye: “if you want to see it, do it now”
Saturday, November 16, 2013 - A World in our Backyard by Laura Sesana
WASHINGTON, November 16, 2013 — Comet ISON, also known as the “Comet of the Century”, unexpectedly brightened Wednesday on its approach to the sun. According to researchers at NASA’s Comet ISON Observation Campaign (CIOC), the comet is now visible to the naked eye. How long it will be visible, however, is unknown.
Charging through our inner solar system, ISON will reach its perihelion, the point at which it comes closest to the sun, on Thanksgiving Day, November 28. At perihelion, ISON will come within 730,000 miles of the sun’s surface.
Forecasters have had a difficult time predicting just how bright ISON will be in the past few months. However, the comet has recently become many times brighter, increasing 16 times in brightness in just 72 hours, according to Space.com.
“ISON has dramatically brightened over the past few days. My own observations from this morning in 10x50 and 30x125 binoculars show a nice ‘lollipop’ comet with a very condensed blue-green head and a long narrow tail,” Carl Hergenrother, acting co-coordinator of the comet section of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers, told Space.com on Thursday. “The comet may continue to brighten as the outburst is still in its early stages. Whether this outburst will be a short-lived event or the beginning of a more active phase is still to be seen.”