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Martian Encounter

27 Sep 2013, 11:03 UTC
Martian Encounter
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

This post by blog guest Dr. Frank Summers is cross-posted at his Hubble’s Universe Unfiltered blog. Dr. Summers is an astrophysicist at Hubble’s Space Telescope Science Institute, where he specializes in bringing astronomy discoveries to the public

Comet ISON was introduced to the public earlier this year with much fanfare about a potential “comet of the century." As observations have continued, and especially as recent measures show it to be fainter than predicted, there has been much public speculation as to whether it will flourish or fizzle. While no one can definitively answer that question, it is pretty safe to say that Comet ISON will at least be the "comet of the year."

On Nov 28th, 2013, Comet ISON will reach its closest point to the Sun, called perihelion. It will swing about 680,000 miles above the surface of the Sun, which is extremely close when you consider that the Sun’s diameter is only a bit larger at about 860,000 miles. Scientifically interesting events will certainly unfold before, during, and/or after that perihelion passage. Whether or not the passage is visually interesting is the big unknown, and one that is hampered by the fact that Comet ISON’s closest approach to ...

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