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Space Space highlights 2013: Supercomet could outshine moon

Space highlights 2013: Supercomet could outshine moon

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First Posted: Dec 28, 2012 04:44 PM EST

There will be some cosmic fireworks in 2013, like one of the potentially brightest comets in decades. The comet known as C/2012 S1 (or ISON), was first discovered in September, and is expected to outshine even the moon and be visible at day at its peak, says the NASA.

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The closest approach by ISON to the sun will be in November, when Timothy Spahr of the Minor Planet Center at Harvard University expects it to put on as good a show as Hale-Bopp did in 1997.

Since ISON is rushing from the outer solar system, possibly stemming from the Oort Cloud, towards the sun for the first time, the comet could still contain a rich supply of volatile gases that other comets have lost over the aeons. That could give astronomers a great chance to get a spectrographic look at the material in the outer solar system of 4.6 billion years ago when ISON formed. Two Russian amateur astronomers discovered the Comet ISON, named after the International Scientific Optical Network that made the discovery, and posted info on a Yahoo mailinglist.

Comet
(Photo : Pixabay)
Supercomet racing towards inner solar system.

 

Another cosmic event will happen when a gas cloud currently sucked towards the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, "only" 25,000 light years away, will crash into it in 2013. The collision will be only visible to X-ray telescopes, which can sense the radiation from the shock wave created as the cloud crashes into the halo of hot gas around the hole, known as Sagittarius A*.

 

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