Comet Hartley 2 is shown in this handout image taken by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and released by NASA October 5, 2010. (Photo : Reuters)
A new comet discovered by two Russians may put on quite the celestial show late next year, Space.com reported on Thursday. The comet, which was announced on Monday by Russians Vitali Nevski and Artyon Novichonok, has been named Comet ISON.
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According to Space.com, the comet was discovered through photographs taken by a 15.7-inch reflecting telescope of the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia. Comet ISON, officially known as C/2012 S1, was spotted 625 million miles from Earth and 584 miles from the sun.
Space.com reported that the object was shining at magnitude 18.8 on the reverse scale used by scientists to measure the brightness of sky objects, which means the comet is close to 100,000 times dimmer than the dimmest star seen with the naked eye.
The comet is expected to reach its closest distance from the sun on November 28, 2013, coming within 800,000 miles from the sun's surface. The comet's closeness to the sun could mean that spectators on Earth could see a dazzling show in broad daylight, Space.com reported.
Comet ISON will be scarcely visible to the naked eye on October 2013 when its positioned near the stars of Leo, according to Space.com. The comet will pass near Mars and the star Regulus by October 16 and will pass close to star Spica in Virgo by early November.
Space.com reported that the comet will finally "whirl north" after traveling next to the sun and become visible during December in the evening sky after sunset and in the morning sky before sunrise.
For American comet gazers, the comets November 28 passing will be extra special as it lands on the Thanksgiving holiday.