Comet ISON, discovered by two amateur astronomers last September, quietly streaks through space in this time-lapse sequence made in May.
I thought you’d like to see this short video of the year’s most anticipated comet. The 43-minute time-lapse, compressed to just 5 seconds, was made back on May 8 when the comet was 403 million miles from Earth between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. During the sequence, ISON travels 34,000 miles (55,000 km) or about four Earth diameters at a clip of 48,000 mph (77,000 km).
The particulars on Comet ISON when photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope on May 8, 2013. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
In the video we see ISON’s bright “false nucleus” within which spins the comet itself, a 3-mile-wide (5 km), misshapen hunk of dust-impregnated ice. Sunlight vaporizes the ice, releasing the dust and brushes it back to form the tail.
ISON will gradually brighten in the coming months, reaching naked eye visibility sometime in early November. For a complete and updated forecast on what to expect, clickHERE.