A new comet has been discovered.
It is currently in the constellation Cancer, visible right now only in the wee hours of the morning. It is shining at 18 magnitude, which basically means it is 100,000 times DIMMER than the faintest star visible with the unaided eye.
But this one promises to be EXCITING!
People are predicting this will be visible in the daytime in late 2013. Why? Because the comet's orbit will be taking it very closely to the Sun, meaning the Sun will activate the comet's tail like nobody's business!
The discovery of the object named Comet ISON was announced Monday, September 24, 2012, by Russians Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The discovery was made when they examined photographs taken three days earlier using a 15.7-inch
(0.4-meter) reflecting telescope of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON), near Kislovodsk.
The new comet is officially known as C/2012 S1 or C/2012 S1 ISON.
So how bright will this comet get?
Several people have suggested the comet might reach a maximum magnitude
of -6 to -10 when the comet is closest to the sun. How bright is that? It which would enable
it to be seen in broad daylight. The Central
Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams web site indicated a maximum
brightness of -13.1 on November 28, 2013. Reinder J. Bouma of the Netherlands has pointed out that the orbit of this comet is "somewhat similar" to the orbit of the great
comet of 1680.
When this comet reaches perihelion, meaning its closest point with the Sun, it may will reach its brightest, but unfortunately on that date it will be a mere 4.4° north of the Sun and hence may get lost in the glare for most casual observers.
reaching perihelion, Comet 2012 S1 ISON heads north and will begin to fade
as its distance from the Sun increases, Still, it should remain as bright as
Venus, and with a spectacular tail. Its position will allow observers
all over Earth to see it, but those in the Northern Hemisphere will get
the better views as Christmas approaches. On January 8, 2014,
the comet will lie only 2° from Polaris — the North Star.
A word of caution!!! Anyone remember the great comet of 1973? Comet Kohoutek! It was predicted to be a bright comet, and now its name is synonymous with failures and duds.