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Topic: NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign

NASA takes a look at the passing of Comet ISON

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Astronomers have long known that some comets like it hot. Several of the greatest comets in history have flown close to the sun, puffing themselves up with solar heat, before they became naked-eye wonders in the night sky.

Some comets like it hot, but Comet ISON was not one of them.

The much-anticipated flyby of the sun by Comet ISON on Thanksgiving Day 2013 is over, and instead of becoming a Great Comet….

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NASA details Comet ISON’s encounter with a Solar Storm

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In 2007, astronomers were amazed when a solar storm hit Comet Encke. NASA STEREO spacecraft watched as a CME (coronal mass ejection) struck the comet head on and ripped off its tail.

The same thing could be in store for Comet ISON–only worse.

On November 28th, Comet ISON will pass through the sun’s atmosphere, flying little more than a million kilometers above the sun’s surface. It will be ~30 times closer to the sun than Encke was in 2007 and more likely to encounter a ferocious solar storm.

A CME strikes Comet Encke in April 2007

A CME strikes Comet Encke in April 2007 (Click to view movie)

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NASA asks “What’s next for Comet ISON?”

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Comet ISON is now inside the orbit of Earth as it plunges headlong toward the sun for a fiery close encounter on November 28th.

The comet is putting on a good show for observatories around the solar system, especially after an outburst on November 13th-14th that boosted the comet’s brightness 10-fold. NASA spacecraft and amateur astronomers alike are snapping crisp pictures of the comet’s gossamer green atmosphere and suddenly riotous tail.

Comet ISON photographed on November 15th by amateur astronomer Mike Hankey of Auberry, California. The comet's bright head and riotous tail are consequences of an outburst on November 13th-14th that significantly boosted the comet's level of activity.

Comet ISON photographed on November 15th by amateur astronomer Mike Hankey of Auberry, California. The comet’s bright head and riotous tail are consequences of an outburst on November 13th-14th that significantly boosted the comet’s level of activity.

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NASA reports Amateur Astronomers now able to Observe Comet ISON

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Anticipation is building as Comet ISON approaches the sun for a close encounter on Thanksgiving Day (November 28th). No one knows if the blast of solar heating ISON receives will turn it into one of the finest comets in years–or destroy the icy visitor from the outer solar system.

Astronomer Carey Lisse, the head of NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign, hopes that “every telescope on Earth will be trained on the comet in October and November.”  He may get his wish. As September comes to an end, amateur astronomers around the world are already monitoring the comet.

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