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    “Once in a Civilization” Comet to Zip past Earth Next Year - Forum

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    Forum moderator: arya, dethalternate  
    Forum » Main » Science, Astronomy, Nature » “Once in a Civilization” Comet to Zip past Earth Next Year
    “Once in a Civilization” Comet to Zip past Earth Next Year
    dethalternateDate: Sunday, 07-October-2012, 4:36 PM | Message # 1
    -- dragon lord--
    Group: Users
    Messages: 3374
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    As it flares out of the distant Oort Cloud, the newly discovered comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) appears to be heading on a trajectory that could make for one of the most spectacular night-sky events in living memory. Why is this comet expected to be so unique? Two reasons:

    Astronomers predict that the comet will pass just 1.16 million miles from the Sun as it swings around its perihelion, or closest approach. (This may seem like a lot, but remember—the Sun is big. If we were to scale the Sun down to the size of Earth, the comet would pass well within the orbits of dozens of satellites.) The close approach will melt enormous amounts of the comet’s ice, releasing dust and gas and forming what should be a magnificent tail.

    After it loops around the Sun and forms this tail, the comet should then pass relatively close to Earth—not near enough to cause any worry, but close enough to put on a great show. Viewers in the Northern Hemisphere will get the best view as the comet blooms in the weeks approaching Christmas 2013. The comet could grow as bright as the full moon. Of course, comets have a habit of not living up to expectations. This one could be sucked into the Sun during its close approach, or not grow as much of a tail as astronomers hope.


    untotenawake
    Read more/Full article/source - http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observa....xt-year




    Message edited by dethalternate - Sunday, 07-October-2012, 4:37 PM
     
    Forum » Main » Science, Astronomy, Nature » “Once in a Civilization” Comet to Zip past Earth Next Year
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