Will the sun break apart and burn up the giant ball of space ice called the ISON comet everyone has been watching over these past few months? It’s hard to say, but scientists do tell us that the closer it gets to the sun the faster the comet gains speed, and in reality that is not a good thing if you do not want something to fall apart or disappear.
The close encounter ISON will experience is pretty intense and by thanksgiving we will find out whether or not the comet can withstand it’s journey past our sizzling sun. The ISON comet is thought to be less than a mile wide, but scientists wonder if it will just sizzle or break up due to the intense heat of the sun as it passes by. It is also possible that if it does break up we may be in for a really neat celestial show of fireworks.
Scientists discovered this comet just over a year ago, and it is said to contain particles of the beginning of our solar system. Researchers think it is from the fringes of our solar system from an Oort cloud, but no one knows for sure as to why it was catapulted out of this cloud and is heading toward our sun due to its gravitational pull.
If this comet survives the trip passed the sun, it will actually be visible through December with the naked eye from the Northern Hemisphere. A person may be able to spot it once in a while in November with binoculars and even the naked eye depending on our atmospheric conditions as well. The ISON comet is considered the most debated comet ever by scientists. It is said the ISON is going about 150,000 miles per hour, last January is was going only about 40,000 miles per hour.
The ISON comet will only be coming about 40,000 miles towards Earth. That is less than half the distance between the sun and the Earth. December 26th will be the closest the comet will come to Earth, if it survives past Thanksgiving thursday, and will continue on into space after that.
The ISON comet is named after the ‘International Scientific Optical Network’ by a few Russian astronomers that found the comet September of last year. C/2012 S1 is the comets true name, in order to label were comet was originally found.
NASA scientists got to take a better look at the comet at about 500 million miles when they jumped onto the spacecraft called ‘Deep Impact’ back in January. Basically any spacecraft that has a camera is going to take snap shots of the comet as it passes by. This comet may not be the first comet of its kind to pass by the sun, but it is the first time such a comet has been watched by humans due to all of the technology and equipment we have in order to find and study it.
Some data that researchers were trying to grasp was finally available due to ISON passing by the sun. We now have measurements of the sun’s gravitational pull, solar wind and other tidbits of information that would be almost impossible to obtain otherwise. Hopefully scientists are able to obtain more of the Sun’s data, before if and when the comet is disintegrated by the sun.
By Tina Elliott
American Live Wire