The 2013 Comet ISON's closest approach to planet Mars last October 1 had built up the excitement for a remarkable display but the "Comet of the Century" was not able to meet the expectations of the scientists in-charge with the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HiRISE camera. Astronomer Ignacio Ferrin from FACom, Universidad de Antioquia gave his evaluation on the latest Comet ISON data and discovered signs on its "imminent demise."
C/2012 S1 ISON. Taken by Michael Jäger on October 5, 2013 at Weißenkirchen, Austria.
Photo Credit: Tumblr/inthewired
Mr Ferrin uses the "secular light curves" in featuring the brightness history of a comet and he believes Comet ISON will dissolve soon. "The light curve of the comet showed a slowdown event characterized by a constant brightness with no sign of a brightness increase tendency," the astronomer declared.
Ignacio Ferrin further added that the slowdown of Comet ISON started Jan. 13, 2013 and it continued until the last observations made in September. "For nine months or more than 270 days, the brightness of ISON has remained constant, a behaviour without any example in cometary astronomy and that is a troubling sign for the survival of the comet," Mr Ferrin explained.
Additionally, the HiRISE scientists identified as Alan Delamere and Alfred McEwen wrote down on the instrument's Web site based on the data's preliminary analysis that Comet ISON appears to be at the low end on the range of brightness predictions for the observation making the image result not entirely pleasing to look at.
However, other predictions still suggest that the 2013 Comet ISON can shine brightly and become visible even during day time. "More likely, ISON will be one of the brightest comets in the past several years and, thanks to the global astronomy community, we hope one of the most broadly observed comets in history!" the researchers with the NASA-organized Comet ISON Observation Campaign (CIOC) posted in their recent status update.
The CIOC officials further added: "Provided ISON survives its solar close shave - and there's certainly no guarantee that it will - the comet may then be visible to the naked eye sometime in early December, in the western sky just after sunset. Observers in the Northern Hemisphere will have a much better view of ISON than folks in the South."
The European Space Agency advises that the best viewing time for Comet ISON will be in the late part of November during its closes approach to the Sun and early December until reaching its closest point to planet Earth on Dec. 26. Comet ISON will be at the range of 40 million miles when it makes a close approach to Earth which is six times farther compared to its planet Mars flyby.
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