Archive for July 29, 2013

Comet Of The Century? Not Yet!

On September 2nd, 2012, two Russian astronomers discovered a comet designated as C/2012 S1 ISON. When the orbit was calculated, astronomers realized that the object would pass at only 1.3 solar radii from the Sun on November 28th, 2013. Numerous press articles contended that the object would be as bright as the full Moon and that in fact it could become “the comet of the century”.

Dr. Ignacio Ferrin, Astronomer from the Institute of Physics of the University of Antioquia, in Medellín, Colombia, has concluded a study of the comet, using the latest observations available. Dr. Ferrin is a researcher and Faculty Member in the Astronomy Program of that Institute. He is a recognized cometary specialist.

“Comet ISON has presented a peculiar behavior”, said Dr. Ferrín. “The light curve has exhibited a “slowdown event” characterized by a constant brightness with no indication of a brightness increase tendency. This slowdown took place around January 13th, 2013. For 132 days after that date and up to the last available observation, the brightness has remained constant”. Thus the astronomer concludes that it is highly unlikely that the comet will be as bright as the full Moon.

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