Comet ISON brightening up as it nears sun
Washington – The highly anticipated Comet ISON is brightening fast just days from its fateful hairpin turn on November 28th around the broiling surface of the Sun.
The comet is now a greenish-white fuzzy “star” in binoculars, low in the east-southeast at the beginning of dawn.
Telescopic photos are showing it with a long, ribbony tail.
The comet has flared with unexpected outbursts of gas and dust three times already this month.
“We might witness a nice, long-tailed comet visible to the naked eye that will leave millions of people with fond memories for a lifetime,” Alan MacRobert, a senior editor of Sky and Telescope magazine, said.
“Or maybe it will be a small comet for sky hunters using binoculars and a good map of its position. Or it might yet break up and vanish,” he said.
It all depends on what happens to the comet’s tiny nucleus, its only solid part.
ISON will pass closest to the Sun’s surface – by less than one Sun diameter! – for a few hours on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th.