A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky at the Mont-Tendre near Montricher, north of Geneva (Photo : Reuters)
On New Years' Eve in 2013, if you look to the night sky, you may see a comet barreling past earth, glowing brighter than a full moon.
Russian astronomer Artyom Novichonok and his team discovered the comet ISON using the Uzbekistan-based Majdanak Observatory, which they expect to become visible from earth between October 2013 and January 2014.
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In a Yahoo comets email list, Novichonok writes, "The object was slow and had a unique movement. But we could not be certain that it was a comet because the scale of our images are quite small and the object was very compact."
While there is a chance that ISON will disintegrate when it approaches the sun, Reuters reports that ideally "heat from the sun will vaporize ices in its body, creating what could be a spectacular tail."
The Head of NASA's Near Earth Object Program Donald Yeomans explains that the comet will pass "within 1.2 million miles from the center of the sun."
The last time such an event occurred was reportedly in 1680, according to Reuters. At the time, the comet was the first to be discovered with the use of a telescope.