Star Party Tonight


Comet ISON

Comet IsonComet ISON, formally known as C/2012 S1, was a sungrazing comet discovered on 21 September 2012 by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The discovery was made using the 0.4-meter (16 in) reflector of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia.

Comet ISON came to perihelion (closest approach to the Sun) on 28 November 2013 at a distance of 0.0124 AU (1,860,000 km; 1,150,000 mi) from the center point of the Sun. Accounting for the solar radius of 695,500 km (432,200 mi), Comet ISON passed approximately 1,165,000 km (724,000 mi) above the Sun’s surface. Its trajectory appeared to be hyperbolic, which suggested that it was a dynamically new comet coming freshly from the Oort cloud

DECEMBER 6, 2013. As Comet ISON pulled away from its close encounter with the sun on November 28, it first brightened and then faded again. It is now believed that Comet ISON has become little more than a traveling field of debris in space, still following the path of the original comet.

This photo was taken 11 months before the comet approached the sun and was located near Jupiter at the time. This animation consist of several 1 minute shots taken over a 3 hour period and then arranged for presentation by Jerry Hilburn.