Pune: The newest comet to be discovered by Russian scientists, Comet ISON, has star-gazers in the city and around the world excited, as it is expected to put up a spectacular show when it flies by the Earth in November 2013.
The comet, officially named C/2012 S1, was discovered on September 24 by Russian astronomers and is said to be so bright that it will be visible to us even in broad daylight, and with the naked eye.
“This is thrilling news. We will install our telescopes for better visibility when the time comes,” said Arvind Paranjpye, the director of Nehru Planetarium, Worli.
Comet ISON is currently about 1,00,000 times fainter than the faintest star that can be seen with the naked eye, which is why it couldn’t be spotted until now.
Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok detected it in photographs taken three days earlier by Italian amateurs using a reflecting telescope of theInternational Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk.
When it was first sighted, the comet was 625 million miles (1 billion km) from Earth and 584 million miles (939 million km) from the Sun, in the dim constellation of Cancer.
The comet will be at its brightest on November 28, 2013, and is expected to be visible during daylight for a brief period.
“For this generation of space enthusiasts, this will be one of the rarest opportunities as the next visible comet will be Halley’s, and that will only appear after 49 years,” said Mayank Vahiya, a scientist at the astronomy and astrophysics department of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
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