Next year, Comet ISON will pass very closely by the sun and may give us an amazing show. ISON stands for International Scientific Optical Network. Usually, comets are named after their discoverers, but it was a pair of astronomers in Russia with a telescope that’s part of ISON.
This comet may turn out to be so bright when it approaches the sun that it’ll be visible in the northern hemisphere as the sun is going down. I’m hoping for a long tail that’ll be visible for some time after sunset. There are plenty of articles, but this one shows a photo of Comet Lovejoy in 2011. Will we see something like this?
I’ve seen a couple of comets before. The first was Hyakutake in March 1996. I remember my sister and I going back to Edmonton after visiting our parents when I was in my first year of university, and I could actually see Hyakutake from the car.
But even better was Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. I had moved to Victoria to continue studying in university for my physics and astronomy degree, and during an astronomy lab session, we went to the roof of the building to see Hale-Bopp. It was still somewhat light out, but the comet was incredibly clear.
Next year, we could see yet another bright comet. I really hope ISON will give us an incredible display. It’s expected to be bright starting in November 2013.
Will you be watching? Have you seen any amazing celestial events? Let me know by leaving a comment below.