COMET C/2012 S1 ISON UPDATE
Photo By: NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope (links and video below).
This great shot of Oort Cloud Comet C/2012 S1 ISON was taken on April 10, 2013 by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Many are hailing ISON as the Comet Of The Century and it may very well be, but before we cross that bridge lets catch up on where reality stands at the moment.
*At the time this photo was taken (April 10), ISON was approximately 386 million miles (621 million km) from the Sun and about 394 million miles (634 million km) from Earth and just inside the orbit of Jupiter. Although the comets nucleus is only about 4 miles (6.5 km) across, the coma of material surrounding its head is a massive 3100 miles (5000 km) wide with a 57,000 mi (92,000 km) long tail.
*Current data places the comet at 347 million miles (559 million km) from the Sun and 403 million miles (649 million km) from Earth, traveling at 22 km/sec and shedding approximately 110,000 lbs. of material per minute which leads many scientists to hypothesize that after its passing we may very well may end up with a new meteor shower with ISON as its parent body. Estimates put Earths pass through the possible debris field somewhere around Jan 21, 2014.
ISON will reach its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) on November 28, 2013 at a distance of 730,000 mi (1.2 million km). This easily classifies ISON as a Sungrazing Comet and its Parabolic trajectory tells us that its more than likely never made a journey through the Solar System before now.
ISON will reach its closest point to Earth on December 26, 2013 at a distance of about 40 million miles (64.5 million km) or nearly 170 times farther than the Moon.
Formally designated C/2012 S1 (ISON), the comet was discovered on Sept. 21, 2012, by Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok using a 16” telescope of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) located near Kislovodsk.
LIVE ISON TRACKER: http://theskylive.com/ison-tracker
NASA Hubblesite News Center page for this photo: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/14
Science At NASA page for this photo: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/24apr_hubbleison/
NASA Comet ISON Page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/science/ison-view.html
ISON Telescope Home Page: http://lfvn.astronomer.ru/index.htm
Comet C/2012 S1 ISON Trajectory Through The Solar System By: Space.com