Saturday, April 20, 2013

Comet ISON: Unique Meteor Shower Mid-January

April 19, 2013: Anticipation is building as Comet ISON plunges into the inner solar system for a close encounter with the sun in November 2013. Blasted at point-blank range by solar radiation, the sungrazer will likely become one of the finest comets in many years.

When NASA's Swift spacecraft observed the comet in January 2013, it was still near the orbit of Jupiter, but already very active. More than 112,000 pounds of dust were spewing from the comet's nucleus every minute.

It turns out, some of that dust might end up on Earth.

ISONids (splash2)
In a new ScienceCast video, experts discuss what might happen if Comet ISON peppers Earth's atmosphere with dust. Play it

Veteran meteor researcher Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario has been using a computer to model the trajectory of dust ejected by Comet ISON, and his findings suggest that an unusual meteor shower could be in the offing.

"For several days around January 12, 2014, Earth will pass through a stream of fine-grained debris from Comet ISON," says Wiegert. "The resulting shower could have some interesting properties.

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/19apr_isonids/

Source: NASA Science News.

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Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetariu p.m. m.cc >
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* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
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