'New' Comet ISON May Outshine the Moon
The comet was discovered by two amateur astronomers in September. Plus, ways Largo residents can explore the night skies.
Forget the Hunter's Moon in 2013? Local skywatchers may be in store for a spectacular Hunter's Comet — the newly discovered comet ISON.
OK, it does not have the marquee name of Halley's Comet. But sky watchers and astronomers are seeing stars when they talk about ISON.
A NASA astronomer says ISON's fiery tail may be visible to those watching the night sky from October 2013 through January 2014.
And the comet may hover into view without the help of a telescope.
It all depends on whether the sun's heat vaporizes ices in the comet's body, scientists say in an article posted in the Huffington Post.
Comet ISON will fly within 1.2 million miles from the sun's center on Nov. 28, 2013, astronomer Donald Yeomans, head of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif, told the San Jose Mercury News.
If the comet makes it through the sun's heat the ISON could outshine the moon.
Last September two amateur astronomers from Russia discovered the comet.
The Huffington Post says Comet ISON's path resembles that of a 1680 comet. And that comet's tail was reportedly visible during the daytime.
2013 is set to become a two-comet year.
Comet Pan-STARRS is expected to hurl by Earth in March.
Largo residents interested in exploring the nighttime skies can join the monthly night hikes at McGough Nature Center off of Walsingham Road. The next hike is Jan. 19.
Prefer sidewalk star gazing? A local astronomy club offers monthly sidewalk astronomy, weather permitting in Gulfport.