Comet Ison plunges toward its Nov. 28th Solar rendezvous

Head Space

COMET ISON–ANOTHER OUTBURST? Astronomers working with the TRAPPIST telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory report that Comet ISON’s production of gas and dust surged another six-fold during the early hours of Nov. 19th. This marks the second outburst since Nov. 13th. Experienced observers put the comet’s rising magnitude near +4.0, well above the threshold of naked-eye visibility. The problem is, ISON is approaching the sun and becoming increasingly difficult to observe. Shahrin Ahmad of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, photographed the comet’s green core framed by twilight blue on the morning of Nov. 19th:

The situation is only going to worsen as the comet plunges toward its Nov. 28th close encounter with the sun. Amateur photography of the comet will be possible for a few more days and, soon, only NASA’s fleet of solar observatories will be able to track the sundiver.

Despite the recent outbursts, which could have been caused by…

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