Catch A Glimpse of Comet ISON

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A comet by the name of ISON (EYE-sahn) is rapidly approaching the sun and this week the comet is supposed to be visible to the naked eye, low near the horizon facing toward the east just before  sunrise.

On Thanksgiving day the comet will pass closest to the sun a mere 730,000 miles above the surface.  Now there is evidence just in that shows on satellite imagery that the comet may have broken-up while boomeranging around the sun.  Indeed the comet came very close to the sun’s surface and astronomers were quite concerned that it might break-up due to the sun’s massive gravitation.  Now there is evidence to support that.  Below is an image just in from a sun observing satellite that shows the apparent remains of comet ISON.remains_strip

To the naked eye a comet appears as a fuzzy patch of dim light with a transparent wispy tail stretching out in the direction away from the sun.

comet ison 2

Image taken from the Hubble telescope of Comet ISON.

An unobstructive view to the eastern horizon will be necessary to see what remains of Comet ISON and the best time to look will be one hour before sunrise so between 5:00 and 6:00am.  This will be during the first week in December.

Using binoculars would also greatly improve your chances of seeing the comet.

The brightness of a comet is difficult to predict but this may now be not so bright.

Below is an animation you can use to show the orbit of the comet going around the sun.  You can scroll and pause the animation to see the times and the dates when the comet will be visible to the naked eye.