Passing Comet Could Put On Quite A Show In 2013

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It’s been an amazing year for space, both in humanity’s exploration of it, and in the spectacular images that NASA’s many telescopes have given us. But we’re looking at these things mostly through computers, newspapers, and magazines. The sky above has plenty to offer the naked or telescoped eye, but much of it is the same. I know it’s a cynical way of looking at something with a never-ending streak of being awe-inspiring. But my attention span has becomeĀ minusculeĀ over the years, and the Gemenid meteor shower was sooo three weeks ago.

From the depths of the Oort cloud, traveling millions of miles across the universe, brought to you by — or discovered by, rather — Russia’s Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok, the comet C/2012 S1 will take over the skies in 2013. The comet, more commonly known as Comet Ison, after the International Scientific Optical Network where it was discovered, will be visible to telescopes and binoculars by the end of the summer. It will bypass Mars some time in October, where its dark, pock-marked, icy surface will then shift due to thermal shock, its crust will begin to crack, and gas will seep through the cracks as it warms up, forming the tail.