In 2007, astronomers were amazed when a solar storm hit Comet Encke. NASA STEREO spacecraft watched as a CME (coronal mass ejection) struck the comet head on and ripped off its tail.
The same thing could be in store for Comet ISON--only worse.
On Nov. 28th, Comet ISON will pass through the sun's atmosphere, flying little more than a million kilometers above the sun's surface. It will be ~30 times closer to the sun than Encke was in 2007 and more likely to encounter a ferocious solar storm.
"For one thing," says Angelos Vourlidas of the Naval Research Lab and a participant in NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC), "the year 2007 was near solar minimum. Solar activity was low. Now, however, we are near the peak of the solar cycle and eruptions are more frequent."
"I would absolutely love to see Comet ISON get hit by a big CME," says Karl Battams, an astronomer at the Naval Research Lab who also works with the CIOC. "It won't hurt the comet, but it would give us a chance to study extreme interactions with the comet's tail."
More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/24nov_isoncme/
Source: NASA Science News.
Related Blog Posts ---
Comet ISON -
Should We Worry About Comet ISON ? (2013 Oct. 10):
Amateur Astronomers See Comet ISON (2013 Sept. 26):Link >>> http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/2013/09/amateur-astronomers-see-comet-ison.html
Comet ISON to Fly by Mars (2013 Aug. 24):
Comet ISON: Unique Meteor Shower Mid-January (2013 April 20):
Astronomers Begin Study of Comet ISON (2013 April 1):
Comet of the Century? (2013 Jan. 19):
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