Created on: January 08, 2013
The comet ISON is coming this year and it promises to put on the greatest sky show in the history of the human race.
If you haven't heard about this spectacular celestial visitor, you will in the coming months. Due to appear in the skies of the Northern Hemisphere during late November 2013 and into early December, the comet (officially designated as Comet C/2012 S1) spotted by two amateur Russian astronomers, Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON), in September 2012 may turn out to be the most spectacular visitor to grace the skies since humans first took shelter in caves.
Some grinning astronomers predict ISON may become so brilliant it could shine 13 times brighter than the full Moon. If it does become that bright it will be visible both day and night.
The path, size and orbit of a comet are the primary guidelines for predicting just how bright a comet might become as it approaches the sun and whips about it before heading back out of the solar system. Every indicator promises ISON will deliver a heavenly show.
Scientists calculate the comet is about two-miles wide.
Excited astronomers explain that despite its current distance from the sun the comet is already far brighter than most. Add to that its orbit: scientists calculate that ISON is—almost eerily—on the same trajectory as one of the most amazing comets ever recorded in human history known as the Great Comet of 1680.
Another comet, that almost caused the end of the world, brushed by Earth in 1863. Mexican astronomer José Banilla, recorded evidence of the comet that modern day astronomers calculated came within fractions of a second from slamming into Earth and killing off humanity. It missed by a mere 335 miles.
Although Comet ISON will pass Earth at a very safe distance, it is sure to cause a major stir as humans have a history of reacting in terror to the ghostly visitors that appear in the sky and no human alive has ever seen anything like the comet approaching.
Before ISON arrives another brilliant comet will appear in the skies during March. That comet will probably cause a lot of buzz, and if it was the only comet in 2013 it would be long remembered as it's predicted to be a brilliant comet in its own right.
But eight months later the monster of all comets will arrive and the comparison between the two will be like a candle to a spotlight.
Each month ISON will become more visible
During the first quarter of 2013 the comet will be visible
Below are the top articles rated and ranked by Helium members on:
How you can spot the giant Comet ISON now
Cast your vote!
Click for your side.