New Comet Ison discovery by Russian Observatory
Astronomers at Kislovodsk Observatory in Russia while surveying the sky’s in the constellations of Gemini and Cancer observed an unusually blurred, slow and rather bright object, on which closer examination with a larger telescope revealed it was a new comet.
The new comet named Ison had been found in an earlier database by other telescopes late 2011 and a jigsaw has been put together to determine its orbit. The new comet Ison has taken millions of years to arrive at its position and has travelled from a region called Oort Cloud, a cluster of trillions of chunks of rock and ice which are leftovers from the birth of planets. Our sun is barely a flicker of light to the Oort cloud with barely just enough gravitational force to affect it, but on rare occasions when a nearby star or wandering object passes, the debris can be disturbed sending huge blocks of ice and rock shooting out into interstellar space, some towards our sun in the case of Ison.
Ison is thought to be a few tens of miles across with a tiny pull of gravity, its surface is dark as asphalt dust with ice below, comets are generally rocky at the surface, with chemical-laden ice within the interior, but the suns heat will bring it to life especially when it passes close to Mars where its surface will shift, cracks will appear, the ice will react to the thermal shock and gas will start to escape as it is warmed forming a comets tail. By the end of summer 2013 the object will be visible with small telescopes and binoculars, but by late November it will be visible to the naked eye in the same direction of the setting sun.
As the new comet veers towards our sun it will leave a trail that will stretch like a searchlight into the sky above the horizon, eventually passing around the sun within 2 million miles of it, far closer than any other planet does, (some reports go as far as to say there could be collision with the sun) eventually heading off towards the pole star.
Already there has been talk that the Mayan calendar with its message the end of the world being misinterpreted too early as we have changed our calendars over time, relating to the comet, but most will revel in the new light show and gather to watch this extraordinary event. Ison is just one of many comets that have come close enough to Earth to be seen, there was Hale-Bopp in 1977, and 2013 could to be the year of comets, where another comet PanSTARRS was detected in March and April which will also be visible in the evening sky in 2013.
Ison could well outshine the moon and may be visible in daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. Ison is expected to draw millions into the dark to witness what is likely to be the most brilliant comet seen in many generations.