2013 Comet ISON: Comet’s Schedule of Closest Flyby to Sun and Planet Earth

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By Jenalyn Villamarin | February 26, 2013 5:19 PM EST

After NASA's Deep Impact space probe captured an image of the comet ISON, astronomers and the curious public are now excitedly talking about the upcoming rare space event. It is currently undetermined how bright the 2013 Comet ISON will shine but it is predicted to be visible during broad daylight.

To further build up the hype surrounding the comet ISON, there is a possibility that the comet will linger on for months. The comet was given the name ISON after the International Scientific Optical Network where Russian astronomers Vitaly Nevski and Artyom Novichonok made the remarkable discovery in September 2012 with a telescope.

For spectators who wish to experience the once-a-century event, they should start searching the skies starting this October as comet ISON approaches planet Earth. Before the month ends, the comet ISON could already be visible to the naked eye.

The real spectacular viewing will begin on November 28 when comet ISON makes its closest approach to the Sun with an approximated distance of 732,000 miles. However, Space.com reports that the precise comet orbit like the newly discovered ISON is difficult to calculate due to its somewhat far distance with planet Earth or the Sun.

In the mean time, listed below are the 2013 Comet ISON flyby dates:

1.       October 14-15: Comet ISON will pass by very close to Regulus in Leo

2.       November 18: Comet ISON will be within a degree of Spica

3.       November 23: Comet ISON will have a very near flyby with planets Mercury and Saturn

4.       November 28: Comet ISON will have its closest approach to the sun. If the comet survives the flyby, an amazing tail could possibly become visible.

5.       Early December: Viewers can witness the Comet ISON during the evening and morning skies for mid-Northern spectators as well as circumpolar for the far North.

6.       December 26: Comet ISON will make a near-Earth flyby at 39.6 million miles.

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