Comet ISON, the so-called “comet of the century,” could suffer a slow death by sun on Thanksgiving Day. According to NASA, ISON is now inside the orbit of Earth as it moves toward the great big ball of fire for an extremely close encounter just as everyone sits down for some turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. The show has already started for ISON, as an outburst from the comet on November 13-14 raised its brightness 10-fold. The early show is giving professional astronomers, as well as amateur sky gazers, the chance to snap stunning photos of ISON’s gossamer green atmosphere and crazy tail. According to the space agency, ISON is a first-time traveler through the inner solar system and, as a result, astronomers have no what will happen next. Will ISON survive its close encounter with the sun on Thanksgiving Day? “I’ve grouped the possible outcomes into three scenarios, discussed in chronological order,” posited Matthew Knight, Lowell Observatory astronomer, in a NASA news release. ”It is important to note that no matter what happens, now that ISON has made it inside Earth’s orbit, any or all of these scenarios are scientifically exciting. We’re going to learn a lot no matter what.” Read the Scenarios on Science Recorder.
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