2013 Has A Spectacular Comet In Store For Us

Halley's Comet
This is Haley’s comet, not ISON.

[credit provider=”Wikipedia” url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lspn_comet_halley.jpg”]

About a year from now, we should be getting a spectacular light show in the night sky, as comet ISON shines brightly as it sweeps past Earth — if it doesn’t explode into the sun that is.Vitali Nevski discovered the comet on September 21, 2012. It doesn’t pose any threat to the Earth, but it should make for a spectacular sight throughout 2013.

It will make its closest approach to the sun on November 28, 2013. Then, it will loop back around and whiz by Mars in early October and Earth on Boxing Day in a year.

It’s probably a couple miles across, researchers say.

You should be able to see it from late October through mid-January 2014. Astronomy Now suggests that the comet could glow brighter than the full moon. The best views will be from the Northern Hemisphere, but it should be visible from almost anywhere on the globe.

The comet should be extra bright because it shaves so close to the sun that it will burn off all the ice, leaving fresh dust and rock to burn up in its long and bright tail, New Scientist says.

I don’t know about you, but this is really exciting to me. I can’t wait to see the comet streak through our skies. It reminds me of something you see in a science fiction book. I wonder if people will be interpreting it as a harbinger of doomsday.

Also in 2013, Comet Pan-STARRS (C/2011 L4) will pass by Earth in March, and should also be visible to the naked eye, though not nearly as bright as ISON.