Comet ISON makes perilous pass by the Sun Thanksgiving Day

Posted at 7:54 AM, Nov 28, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - It's the day of reckoning. The moment of truth for Sungrazing Comet ISON.

But will today be its day of deliverance? We should know by this weekend if the comet making a perilously close pass by our Sun can survive the fly-by.

In this video below taken early November 27, 2013, the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory sees Comet ISON approach the Sun.

You can clearly see why this is such a perilous pass, with regular explosions happening from the Sun like the coronal mass ejection seen in this video. That particular CME likely didn't damage ISON, but it still has to survive baking temperatures up to 5000 degrees Fahrenheit as it passes about 621,000 miles above the Sun's surface.

Thanksgiving Day is when ISON is at "perihelion," meaning it is at its closest pass by the Sun. The track looks like this:

Credit: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO)

If Comet ISON doesn't disintegrate completely today, then we should have excellent viewing opportunities on Earth to see it in early December! No telescopes required, just your naked eyes. Here's what it could look like in the coming weeks:


CLICK HERE for more on Comet ISON, and also from StarDate.’s Comet ISON Photo Gallery

Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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