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Massive comet will shine brighter than the moon, say astronomers

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Science Recorder
Dec 31, 2012

A massive two-mile-wide comet will be visible from Earth in late 2013, possibly appearing brighter than the moon during November and December, according to astronomers.

The comet, discovered by amateur Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, is among the brightest comets ever identified. According to NASA, the comet is currently falling toward the Sun from between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. In early October 2013 it will pass near Mars — where NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will snap a photo.

The recently discovered object, known as comet ISON, will pass within 1.2 million miles (1.9 million km) from the center of the sun on November 28, 2013, according to astronomer Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

“Comet ISON appears on course to achieve sungrazer status as it passes within a solar diameter of Sun’s surface in late 2013 November. Whatever survives will then pass nearest the Earth in late 2013 December,” NASA astronomers explained in a posting. “Astronomers around the world will be tracking this large dirty snowball closely to better understand its nature and how it might evolve during the next 15 months.”

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This article was posted: Monday, December 31, 2012 at 11:21 am

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