Comet of the century, ISON to visit earth after 10 million years
Paris: The biggest excitement is being reserved for Comet ISON, named after the International Scientific Optical Network, whose telescope was used by Russian astronomers Vitaly Nevski and Artyom Novichonok to make the find last September.
Right now, it is unclear how bright ISON will be, but by some calculations it could become visible to the naked eye by late November and maybe linger brilliantly for months, becoming a once-a-century event.
ISON is an extraordinary beast, for it last returned to Earth 10 million years ago, or more, says Bailey.
"It's a 'new comet', which comes from a region of the Solar System that's called the Oort Cloud, an extensive system that extends from around a thousand times the distance of the Earth to the Sun to around 100,000-200,000 times this distance," Bailey says.
"If you imagine a model of the Solar System whereby the Sun's a football in the centre of a football pitch and the Earth is on the perimeter, then this comet has come effectively from Australia. That's the scale of things."