Monday, October 14, 2013 11:13am -0400

Comet ISON Wows Astronomers

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Comet ISON Oct. 11, 2013 Comet ISON Oct. 11, 2013 Clifford Spohn and Terry Hancock

Here it comes! Excitement has been growing about what everyone hopes to be the biggest night sky event of the year, or as some might say, the century. All eyes are on comet ISON as it zooms through the solar system and makes it's way closer to the Sun. It should become visible to the naked eye in the next two months. The stage is set as astronomers all over are tracking it's every move, hoping for a spectacular show.


This remarkable image of comet ISON was taken by Clifford Spohn and processed by Terry Hancock in Marion Ohio on October 11, 2013. They observed it very low in the sky as it made its way through the constellation of Leo. They also captured quite a few very small galaxies in this image, how many of these tiny fuzzies you can count? Clifford and Terry caught ISON on video as well, moving through the sky (scroll to the bottom of page to see video).

On October 1, 2013 ISON flew past the red planet, Mars. In November it is expected to sweep past another bright star in our sky, Spica in the constellation Virgo, and then by Saturn. Fingers will be crossed as reaches it perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on November 28. Then if it survives it's dance with the Sun, ISON should get much brighter and step from it's cosmic curtains and onto the celestial stage for our viewing pleasure.

All year long rumors have swarmed that this icy wonder will shine as brightly as the full moon and even be able to be seen in daylight. ISON is a sungrazing comet attracted to the Sun, it can't be predicted if it will start to fizzle out when it nears our star. For now the audience takes their seats waiting for the spectacular cosmic show. Will our star performer get stage fright, or receive a standing ovation as it leaves us awestruck in it's luminous wonder? Only time will tell.

You can view more images from Terry Hancock on his Flickr page as well as his Facebook page Down Under Observatory and his website www.downunderobservatory.com

Read 9065 times Last modified on Monday, October 14, 2013 2:19pm -0400
Laurel Nendza

Laurel Nendza is the owner and creator of Stellar Eyes.

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Comet ISON on Oct. 11, 2013 Clifford Spohn and Terry Hancock