A massive comet could be visible from Earth in the coming weeks if it is able to survive the sun’s heat. Comet ISON is expected to pass close by the sun today.
Beginning at approximately 10:30 pm PST, the 1.2-km diameter comet is expected to be 1.6 million kms away from the sun’s fiery surface. According to NASA, at this distance the comet will likely reach temperatures near 2,760 degrees Celcius which could vapourize the comet’s ices, dust and rock.
The sun could vapourize the comet or it could separate it into several large chunks. Either way, it will likely lose mass when it passes by the sun at speeds of 349 kms per second.
An intact comet will appear as a bright, curving streak across a large chunk of Earth’s skies in the run up towards Christmas.
ISON is part of the frozen remains of the creation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago. Gravitational nudges have shifted its trajectory into our inner solar system for the very first time.
Featured Image: NASA