How a stunning 2013 comet could be even brighter than a full moon

Contributed by
Jan 14, 2013, 2:52 PM EST

Hey kids, want to see something cool in the sky without dragging out a pesky telescope? Well, just wait a few months, because 2013 could bring with it a comet so bright that it will outshine a full moon.

Comet ISON, so named because it was discovered by amateur Russian astronomers who are part of the International Scientific Optical Network, was first spotted back in September. It has since been confirmed that the comet is headed this way and will fly within 1.2 million miles of the center of the sun on Nov. 28, 2013.

If the comet maintains its trajectory, astronomers predict the sun's heat will vaporize ice crystals on ISON, leaving a bright tail that will be visible with the naked eye from October 2013 to January 2014. The tail could even be brighter than the full moon, but first the comet has to hold up. Astronomers say it's also possible that ISON could break up or fail to show its tail when it passes by the sun.

If ISON does give us its predicted light show, it will be the first major comet sighting (apart from a brief 2007 appearance by Comet Holmes) since Comet Hale-Bopp appeared in 1997 and remained visible for more than a year. So keep an eye on the skies next fall for what could be quite a spectacular sight.

(Via Huffington Post)

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