Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) appears ready for a big cosmic show by Q4 2013. Gemini Observatory has photographed Comet ISON looking stronger and brighter, as if teasing Earth dwellers as it approaches the Sun. Meanwhile, expect social media networks to be flooded by another round of doomsday talks as ISON makes its historic solar encounter.
Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) appears ready for a big cosmic show by Q4 2013. Gemini Observatory has photographed Comet ISON looking stronger and brighter, as if teasing Earth dwellers as it approaches the Sun. (Photos: Gemini Observatory, Collage by tgdaily.com)
How long has Comet ISON been observed?
ISON was discovered in September 2012 by two Russian amateur astronomers. It is believed this comet is making its first passage into the inner solar system. It may have come from the space region called Oort Cloud, where there is abundance in stuff that makes a comet. Records show comets making a first sun encounter could either show strong activity or lose tail brightness.
Forty years ago, a comet called Kohoutek was also hyped up to bring a stellar show later in the year. But in December 1973, many spectators were disappointed as Kohoutek looked merely like a typical bright dot in the sky.
Will Comet ISON 2013 give a spectacular show in the sky?
ISON, which is expected to come to its closest approach to the Sun in November or December 2013, could amaze or disappoint observers, too. Scientists couldn't estimate how bright it would be until a couple more months. But it is a very promising celestial piece.
Comet ISON "could still become spectacularly bright as it gets very close to the Sun," said astronomer Karen Meech, of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy. She pointed out, however, "I'd be remiss if I didn't add that it's still too early to predict what's going to happen with ISON since comets are notoriously unpredictable."
Why is Comet ISON linked to doomsday, End of the World 2013 prophecy talks?
Nostradamus reportedly made a prediction that "the pope to replace Benedict XVI will 'flee Rome' in the month of December, at a time when the sky has two suns." This is connected to earlier rumour-based speculations that Pope Francis, the 266th and current pope of the Catholic Church, will be the last pope to be named.
As it is not clear whether ISON would be bright enough in December, a 'sky with two suns' remains part of popular myth - a topic popular across social media channels.
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VIDEO: Comet ISON in 2013
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