The 'Comet of the Century' ... and other night-sky highlights for 2013

Cosmic Log has a terrific list of night-sky highlights for 2013. Some of them look interesting enough to keep me up past my strictly-observed 9 PM bedtime.

November-December for Comet ISON: Will ISON shine "brighter even than the full moon" a year from now? That seems hard to believe right now, but by next autumn, astronomers should have a good idea just how much of a phenomenon the comet could turn into. NASA's Curiosity rover may be able to snap a picture when ISON passes by Mars in September, and it could become visible to the naked eye in October. It's due to come well within a million miles of the sun at perihelion on Nov. 28 — and that will be the most dramatic moment for skywatchers. Some comets, like last year's Comet Elenin, break up when they slingshot around the sun. Others, like Comet Lovejoy, survive the encounter spectacularly. If ISON lucks out, we could well be raving about the Great Christmas Comet of 2013 by this time next year. (Just don't believe anyone who tells you it's a doomsday comet.)
The 'Comet of the Century' ... and other night-sky highlights for 2013

(Image: 365::225 - The Dark Half, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from badcomputer's photostream)


    1.  AFAIK, we are out of doomsday material right now, so the arrival of comet ISON is fortuitous, at least for the ZOMGRUNHIDEWEREALLGONNADIE crowd.

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