Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 November 27

Comet ISON Rising
Video Credit & Copyright: Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, Earth and Stars)

Explanation: Will Comet ISON survive tomorrow's close encounter with the Sun? Approaching to within a solar diameter of the Sun's surface, the fate of one of the most unusual comets of modern times will finally be determined. The comet could shed a great amount of ice and dust into a developing tail -- or break apart completely. Unfortunately, the closer Comet ISON gets to the Sun, the harder it has been for conventional telescopes to see the brightening comet in the glare of the morning Sun. Pictured in the above short time lapse video, Comet ISON was captured rising over the Canary Islands just above the morning Sun a few days ago. If the comet's nucleus survives, the coma and the tails it sheds might well be visible rising ahead of the Sun in the next few days or weeks. Alternatively, satellites watching the Sun might document one of the larger comet disintegrations yet recorded. Stay tuned!

Watch: Comet ISON appoach an active Sun (Direct SOHO link)
Tomorrow's picture: South of Orion

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