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Look: Dazzling New Photo of Comet ISON

The comet will make its closest approach to the sun on Nov. 28, 2013
Related: Space
TRAPPIST/E. Jehin/ESO
A brilliant new image of Comet ISON was released by the European Southern Observatory this week, just days before the comet's much-anticipated swing around the sun on Nov. 28. The so-called "comet of the century," which was first spotted in September of 2012, has been expected to reach its closest approach to the sun at that time.

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In fact, reports suggest that ISON is now visible to the naked eye, or at least to stargazers with a good pair of binoculars. Still, some astronomers worry that ISON's brightening could be an early sign that the comet will break apart before reaching its closest approach to the sun, according to NBC News.

Outbursts have been shaking the comet since early November, increasing the amount of gas it's emitting and causing it to glow brighter. These outbursts were caused by the sun's intense heat reaching ice in the tiny nucleus of the comet. The heat causes the ice to change form and throw large amounts of dust and gas into space.

As ISON moves closer to the sun's heat on Nov. 28, it could completely evaporate. However, if ISON does survive its passage near the Sun, it could become spectacularly bright in the morning sky.

Though NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign warns that it's not yet possible to determine whether ISON will survive its journey, they do admonish skywatchers to "make the most of what has turned out to be a truly stunning comet!"

PHOTOS ON SKYE: 10 Breathtaking Photos of Comets

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gbened3996

Does "Comet of the Century" mean it is the best in the 12 years of this century or that it will be the best until the year 2101?

November 19 2013 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharpsh0t

I often wondered if comets and meteors are the debris left over from planets that humans used to occupy.

November 19 2013 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Josh

For those of you complaining that you can't see it, here's some help. It's near the sun now. Just stare at the sun for a long time and it will soon be within your sights.

November 19 2013 at 10:10 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
Cosmo2000

Missed it on the morning of the 18th; cloud cover all around! Bummer! Hopefully, the skies over Central Texas will be clear on the 28th and I'll be able to see it first thing in the a.m. while I take the dog out for a walk before dawn...

November 19 2013 at 9:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
robotgrrr

Interesting enough, "they" (media, Nasa ) keep saying it is visible to the naked eye yet none of their telescopes are following it. At least NO telescope the public has access to. Just saying

November 19 2013 at 9:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fred

Didn't Al invent this too?

November 19 2013 at 8:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fred's comment
ADAM ANTMAN

Sharpton or Jazeera?

November 19 2013 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lovealwayslisad

Dr. Brian Cox is probably somewhere in the world where he can see it right in front of him. I hope he does a small documentary on his show. He is a brilliant scientist, just enjoying someone with true facts.

November 19 2013 at 7:55 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
leftydap52

Heeeee's back. It's SANTA and the fat pig better bring me my MERCERDES this year

November 19 2013 at 7:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
leftydap52

You're all nuts. That isnt a COMET. Look much closer at the photo and you will see 8 tiny reindeer

November 19 2013 at 7:27 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
The Klyber

Oh good, maybe more pinheads will lop off there nuts and drink poison waiting for the space ship behind the comets tail.

November 19 2013 at 6:41 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
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