Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/24/2013 (8 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Brilliant comet will blaze overhead before departing the Solar System forever.

Astronomers have spotted Comet ISON spewing gas  and dust in new images Using a space telescope, astronomers estimate that ISON is already spewing millions of pounds of dust and gas every day. The comet is also on an ejection trajectory.

Comet ISON plunging towards the sun.

Comet ISON plunging towards the sun.

Article Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/24/2013 (8 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Comet ISON, close approach, great comet, viewing, visibility, magnitude, ejection trajectory


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Reporting from nearby Pasadena, astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space telescope say they have observed Comet ISON spewing carbon dioxide gas and dust as it approaches the sun.

Astronomers estimate ISON is losing 2.2 million pounds of gas and 120 million pounds of dust per day.

ISON is beginning to thaw as it approaches the orbit of Mars. The comet will eventually pass less than a million miles from the surface of the Sun, a close approach that could conceivably destroy the comet.

Astronomers believe this is Comet ISON's first visit to the inner Solar System, given the trajectory the comet is on. Typically, comets will have less steep trajectories the more times they pass the sun.

Comet ISON originated in the Oort Cloud, a spherical halo comprised of billions of comets left over from the formation of the Solar System. Although the Oort Cloud itself isn't visible from Earth, the theoretical region, that extends from a tenth of a light year to a full light-year away from the Sun, is widely believed to exist.

First time visitors to the inner Solar System are uniquely valuable because they retain their pristine composition. As such a comet approaches the Sun it warms, melting vapor and shedding dust that accumulated at the time of its formation, billions of years ago. Studying what the comet gives off at this time can help scientists learn more about the formation of the early Solar System.

Comet ISON is now approaching the water-ice line that astronomers say is just beyond the orbit of Mars. Within that boundary, solar energy is intense enough to melt ice of different compositions, turning the frozen gasses that form the comet into vapor.

Water is by far the most abundant frozen gas, but methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide are also prevalent. All of these are believed to be basic building blocks of the Solar System and played a role in the formation of the Solar System.

Comet ISON is expected to pass the orbit of Mars in August. After that, it will continue to warm until it rounds the sun. As it warms, the amount of dust and gas it gives off will increase, causing it to brighten.

If the comet survives its close approach to the sun, it should be visible to the naked eye in late November and early December. Some estimates suggest the comet could be so bright that it will shine at least as brightly as the full moon, for at least a few days.

By the New Year's Eve, the comet will be long-departed. Current estimates suggest that Comet ISON is on an ejection trajectory, meaning that given its mass and velocity, it will actually exit the Solar System, never to return.

If ISON survives its close approach to the Sun, we may be treated to one of the most spectacular astronomical sights of the century. Or, we may be in for an astronomical disappointment. For now it's all speculation, as astronomers watch and wait.

---


Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



Comments


More Technology

A NEW EARTH? Astronomers discover remarkably similar planet to our own Watch

Image of The Goldilocks zone, or habitable zone, is the belt around a star where temperatures are ideal for liquid water to pool on a planet's surface.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Astronomers have announced that they have found a planet that is remarkably similar to Earth. Called Kepler-186f, the planet 1.1 times the size of Earth orbiting a star - "only" 490 light years away. Kepler-186f is the first planet discovered with the right ... continue reading


EYES TO THE HEAVENS: Astronomers say there may be a 'new Saturn moon' Watch

Image of The disturbance in the edge of the ring is 20 percent brighter than its surroundings and about 750 miles long and six miles wide.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All eyes are on the heavens as astronomers theorize that another moon for the ringed planet of Saturn may be on its way. If the heavenly body in the rings of Saturn is confirmed, it would make for the planet's 63rd moon. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


IS THE SECOND COMING NIGH? Four blood moons this year all occur on Jewish holidays Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As climate change wreaks havoc worldwide, and relations between the U.S. and Russia reach a low point over Ukraine, some Christians say that the phenomenon of the "Blood moon" may mean that Christ's return is rapidly approaching. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


Will Alibaba devour Facebook? China's massive Alibaba is coming to conquer the United States Watch

Image of Yahoo's dominance has since dwindled as Alibaba has since grown into a global powerhouse.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Ali Baba for those in the west usually means the storybook leader of a gang of fearless, 40 thieves. But this will soon change. A massive e-commerce site from China, Alibaba, with revenue larger than Amazon and eBay combined has decided to go public in the ... continue reading


Drone images reveal more about mysterious buried village in New Mexico Watch

Image of Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drone images have captured fascinating new details about a buried Native American village in New Mexico. Thermal images captured by the small drone allowed archaeologists to peer under the surface of the desert floor, revealing never-before-seen structures. LOS ... continue reading


New 'Star Wars' gun fires shells seven times the speed of sound through concrete -- 100 miles away Watch

Image of The rail gun will be mounted on high-speed vessel the USNS Millinocket for sea trials in 2016.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A futuristic lethal new weapon capable of firing a shell at seven times the speed of sound has since been successfully tested on land. Conjuring up images of iconic sci-fi villains as Darth Vader, researchers have called the new rail gun as being of 'Star Wars' ... continue reading


KETTLE CALLING THE POT BLACK? Internet search engines exhibiting double standards Watch

Image of An old cliche -- that bears repeating --

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Certain cliché sayings come to mind: The kettle calling the pot black, having one's cake and eating it too . Google, along with Facebook and Yahoo have come down hard on the Obama administration for information gathering - but NOW don't want their ... continue reading


Scientists discover massive asteroid hit Earth so hard that oceans evaporated Watch

Image of Earth was struck several times by massive asteroids billions of years ago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists from Stanford University say they have found evidence of another cataclysmic cosmic collision between Earth and another asteroid billions of years ago. This asteroid, they say, was so large it punched a hole in the Earth's crust and caused earthquakes around ... continue reading


Why is NASA rejecting definitive proof of life on Mars? Watch

Image of Curiosity recently captures this image that shows light on the ground on Mars. NASA thinks it's just a glint off rock or some other similar anomaly.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Curiosity rover has photographed what appears to be light emanating from the ground on Mars. UFO and alien life enthusiasts as well as conspiracy theorists have all claimed the light is evidence of life on the Red Planet. NASA however, is not so sure. LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


HANG ON TOTO! Astronomers calculate the speed of the Universe's expansion Watch

Image of Hang on! The universe is expanding at 1 percent per 44 million years, which is fast if you consider the size of the universe is at least 46 billion years in radius!

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hold on to your hat, Toto, we're about to leave Kansas. Astronomers say they have calculated the expansion rate of the universe and their discovery is very surprising. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Astronomers have long been interested in measuring the expansion ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Genesis 1:1--2:2
1 In the beginning God created heaven and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
5 My birthright, my cup is Yahweh; you, you alone, ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 28:1-10
1 After the Sabbath, and towards dawn on the first ... Read More

Reading 2, Genesis 22:1-18
1 It happened some time later that God put Abraham to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 19th, 2014 Image

St. Alphege
April 19: Archbishop and "the First Martyr of Canterbury." He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter