It has been an exciting week in 'space news'...
Earlier this week, we heard exciting news about the discovery of an ancient riverbed on Mars, now we hear about a newly discovered Comet that may out-shine our own moon...!!
The comet 2012 S1 (ISON) which is comprised mostly of rock and ice, was recently discovered zipping by Saturn. When it makes it way passed Earth on November 28th, 2013 the comet (according to scientists) will be so bright in the sky that it will out shine a typical full-moon...!!
Right now, 2012 S1 appears to be about 615 million miles (990 million kilometers) from Earth, between the orbits of Saturn and Jupiter, astronomers say. As the comet comes within about 1.2 million miles (2 million kilometers) of the sun, the star's intense heat and gravity could cause the ice and rubble to break apart, scotching the sky show. Current orbital predictions indicate the comet will look brightest to us in the weeks just after its closest approach to the sun, on November 28, 2013—if 2012 S1 survives the experience.
But don't worry. Like every other recorded comet, this one is not going to kill us, bring the plague or announce the end of the world. In fact, it may kill itself first. According to astronomers at the Remanzacco Observatory, Italy, 2012 S1 "will get to within 0.012AU of the Sun at the end of November 2013 and then to ~0.4AU from Earth at the beginning of January 2014!" 0.012AU is only 1,115,469 miles, which given the Sun's fiery nature, may be too close for the comet to survive. If it does, however, then it will be only 37 million miles from Earth. That's when the show will be the best.
via nationalgeographic gizmodo