ISON : The Comet of The Century

By now, I’m sure you will have all heard of ISON (No, it’s not a new gadget from Apple), the sun grazing comet that is being hailed as the comet of the century. Even if the name isn’t familiar to you, I’m sure by the end of this week you will have done (…seriously, have you been living under a rock? I thought only geologists did that??).

Why you might ask? Well, today marks the perihelion of comet ISON’s trip around the Sun. For those of you that don’t know, perihelion is the fancy science term used to describe the point at which an object, such as comet ISON, is at its closest to the sun- with the word’s etymology stemming from  the greek word ‘peri’ (around) and ‘helios’ (sun). From today, ISON will begin its journey back towards us and into our skies where it should be visible after the 6th of December.

Providing the comet emerges from its plunge into the outer layers of the Sun, it is expected to be visible in the night sky without any need for telescopes or binoculars. This flyby is a once in a lifetime experience and I whole heartedly suggest you get out there and see it while it’s there!

For more details, and a rather cool interactive 3D model of the comet’s journey, follow this link: Comet ISON 2013

Comet ISON in the lower right of the image, released by and credit to ESA/EPA

Comet ISON in the lower right of the image, released by and credit to ESA/EPA

A spot of shameless self-publicity now- We will be at The Museum Of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester this Saturday. Running a range of events including a practical where we make our very own comet ISON. Join us between 10:30 am and 3:30 pm! See you there!

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About Mark Nottingham

Mark is a PhD student in the Isotope Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry group at UoM. Primarily working on the RIMSKI and RELAX noble gas instruments.
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One Response to ISON : The Comet of The Century

  1. Pingback: UK Planetary Forum, Early Career Scientists’ Annual Meeting | Earth & Solar System

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