This is an excerpt from and article By Joe Rao and posted on Scientific American.


Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD (Tony Farnham)

The promising Comet ISON continues on its

Comet ISON has stagnated around 16th magnitude for a couple months rather than steadily gaining in brightness as expected. Various signs suggest that the comet’s nucleus is not “healthy”

The promising Comet ISON continues on its way in toward a late November rendezvous with the sun, cosmic close encounter that will bring the celestial object to within 800,000 miles (1.2 million km) of the sun’s surface

Many have already christened ISON as the “Comet of the Century,” but this may be premature, since the comet’s performance will hinge chiefly on whether it can survive its extremely close approach to the sun on Nov. 28. During that encounter, the comet will approach close to the sun’s surface —called the photosphere— while also plunging through its intensely hot corona whose temperature exceeds 1 million degrees Fahrenheit (555,000 degrees Celsius).


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