Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/2/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Comet could also spawn a meteor shower.

The comet of the century may be barreling toward Earth and holds the promise of a spectacular display. Here's how to see this remarkable object and what to expect.

The arrow points to the area where to look for ISON now. Unfortunately, you will need a very large scope to spot it now. It will be visible in 8'-10' scopes in September.

The arrow points to the area where to look for ISON now. Unfortunately, you will need a very large scope to spot it now. It will be visible in 8"-10" scopes in September.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/2/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: star chart, Comet ISON, close approach, great comet, meteor shower


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), simply dubbed Comet ISON in the media, was discovered on September 21 beyond the orbit of Jupiter, and almost immediately created a sensation in the astronomical community. The comet holds the promise of becoming so bright that it may be visible in the daytime sky.

Amateur Russian observers, Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, working as part of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) discovered the comet. Quick observations revealed that its orbit is highly parabolic; meaning it will plunge very near the sun, then head straight back out into the distant solar system - provided it survives its close solar approach.

In October, the comet will pass close to Mars and scientists will attempt to photograph it from around the Red Planet the using the cameras on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

At its closest to the sun, Comet ISON will be just 1.8 million kilometers from the solar surface, or just over one million miles. This is extremely close, and some comets that pass that close do not survive the approach, breaking up and melting into the solar wind instead.

The great question for Comet ISON, is whether or not it will survive this fiery brush with the sun. Assuming it survives, it will likely become extraordinarily bright and visible, even in the daytime sky. It's chances are fair, as comets often survive even closer approaches than this. After approaching the sun, the comet will next pass near us, just 40 million miles from Earth.

Comet's ISON's odds cannot be predicted since this is almost certainly the first time it has entered the inner solar system from its likely origin in the Oort cloud. The Oort cloud is a halo of comets believed to exist at the distant edge of the solar system, remnants of creation. Scientists believe that occasional gravitational perturbations can knock these comets out of their distant orbits and send them falling towards the sun.

As an added bit of trivia, scientists think the comet could be a relative of one that became known as the Great Comet of 1680. That comet was also visible in the daytime sky. Scientists suspect this because the orbits of both objects appear to be very similar, although data from 1680 is not as accurate as today's measurements. It is even possible the comet could be the same one, although this is less likely because ISON's orbit appears to be very long.

However, the anticipated brightness of Comet ISON will be a direct result of its intense heating rather than parentage. Since comets are partially comprised of frozen liquid, typically water, the heating releases vapor into space around the comet's nucleus. The water vapor reflects more light than the surrounding dust, which makes the comet's tail appear very bright.

Scientists estimate the comet may become brighter than the full moon, which would make it visible in the daytime sky.

The comet should be visible to the naked eye starting sometime in late October or early November, and will remain visible, if it survives, until January 2014. After that it will return to the outer solar system, where it will probably remain for several thousand years, judging from its extreme, parabolic orbit.

To view the comet, one will merely have to look in the direction of the sun, although viewers must only use their eyes, and not optical aids such as telescopes and binoculars, for safety reasons. The comet will be very obvious in the sky, appearing as a bright fuzzy patch, likely with a long, diffuse tail pointing away from the sun.

There is, of course, one value-added bonus that may come with the comet. Earth will pass through ISON's orbit inviting the possibility of a new meteor shower around January 14-15, 2014. Meteor showers are produced when Earth passes through the orbits of comets, even if the comets are hundreds or thousands of years distant. This is because comets tend to repeat their orbits over millions of years, constantly adding dust in their wake.

Comet ISON will be the second of two comets that should be visible to the naked eye in 2013. In March, the comet C/2011 L4 will be easily visible through binoculars and probably reach naked-eye visibility for a short time as it passes near the sun.

Anyone wishing to view Comet ISON now, will need a large telescope, a dark sky, and a chart to locate the object, which is presently too dim to see otherwise. The comet is in the constellation Gemini, moving towards Cancer. It will probably become visible to 8-10 inch scopes sometime in September. The star chart in the image shows where to look.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Technology

New fossils may prove that mammals existed alongside dinosaurs Watch

Image of New fossils of early, squirrel-like mammals, found in China, have shown that mammals may have existed early then previously thought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fossils of three early mammalian species from over 200 million years ago suggests that dinosaurs and mammals did coexist on the Earth earlier than previously thought. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fossils of the squirrel-like creatures were discovered in ... continue reading


Make way for the 'Phablet:' Apple hopes to recapture trendsetters with world's first 'smartwatch' Watch

Image of Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the Apple Watch during a special event at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts this week.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The way of the future...is "phablets," which combines both features of smartphones and tablets. Apple, hoping to usurp the high tech throne from Asian rival Samsung will announce their first ever "smartwatch" along with two large-screen versions of the iPhone ... continue reading


British researchers may have just found the cure for multiple sclerosis! Watch

Image of A new study by researchers from Bristol University may have found a way to stop autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis or Type 1 diabetes.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study published in the journal Nature Communications shows that scientists may have discovered a way to stop autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis or Type 1 diabetes by retraining the immune system. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The study was ... continue reading


Futuristic, super-fast sports car runs on saltwater Watch

Image of A four-seater, the car's 22-inch wheels sit just beneath impressive double gull-wing doors, in the manner of the classic DeLorean, that feature

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Imagine, if you will - in the words of the late, great Rod Serling of "Twilight Zone" fame - a futuristic sports car that can go from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than three seconds - that runs entirely on saltwater. While sports cars are not known for ... continue reading


Scientists put out international plea to help figure out purpose of cellular protein 'blobs' Watch

Image of Scientists are stepping up attempts at understanding the purpose of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists in the U.S. are calling on the scientific community to up their efforts to determine the purpose and function of mysterious blobs in cells that have eluded understanding since they were first discovered 50 years ago. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


MARK OF THE BEAST: Microchip implants in humans becoming more viable Watch

Image of Chips are already being used to manage farm animals. Farmers can track sheep, pigs and horses as they move through a gate, weigh them instantly and make sure they are eating properly.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A microchip implanted on human beings has chilling implications, conjuring up images of the "Mark of the Beast" as mentioned in the Book of revelations. Such an accessory would certainly be a boon for a totalitarian society - but there are scientists who say ... continue reading


Google, Internet search engine - branches off with DRONE DELIVERY Watch

Image of Google engineers coupled with experts on unmanned aerial vehicles, called UAVs, safely carried out more than 30 test flights this month.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The unquestioned leader of Internet search engines, Google, has branched off into a most unexpected venture. Google is now considering delivery with drone aircraft, running its first test flights earlier this month as part of "Project Wing," a secretive, ... continue reading


What are these mysterious objects found underneath Stonehenge? Watch

Image of Using underground radar and 3D imaging technology, a new study has revealed that there are numerous monuments underneath the famous Stonehenge.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

England's iconic and mysterious Stonehenge has just revealed a new mystery, as a first-of-its-kind study suggests that 15 previously undiscovered or poorly understood monuments lie hidden under the ancient monument and the surrounding countryside. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Forget the zombie apocalypse, the ROBOT APOCALYPSE is near! Watch

Image of In the future, robots will be connected through a kind of internet which will allow connected robots to gather and use information in everyday tasks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A large scale computational system that learns from publicly available Internet resources-called Robo Brain-is currently downloading a processing about 1 billion images, 120,000 YouTube videos, and 100 million how-to documents and appliance manuals. This ... continue reading


You'll never believe what Amazon picked up for nearly $1 billion Watch

Image of Tech giant Amazon purchased the live-streaming gaming network Twitch for $970 million, beating out several rival competitors including Google.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Defeating tech rivals Google and Yahoo, Amazon purchased the live-streaming gaming network Twitch for $970 million in a move announced late on August 25 which is the largest deal in Amazon's 20-year history. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The firm raised $20 ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:1-11
1 I want to make quite clear to you, brothers, what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 118:1-2, 16-17, 28
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh for he is good, for ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:36-50
36 One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal. When ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 18th, 2014 Image

St. Joseph of Cupertino
September 18: St. Joseph was born at Cupertino, in the diocese of Nardo in the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter