Monday, 1 April 2013

Astronomers Begin Study of Comet ISON

NASA's Swift Sizes Up Comet ISON

Mar. 29, 2013 — Astronomers from the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP) and Lowell Observatory have used NASA's Swift satellite to check out comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), which may become one of the most dazzling in decades when it rounds the sun later this year.


From now through October, comet ISON tracks through the constellations Gemini, Cancer and Leo as it falls toward the sun. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Axel Mellinger)
Using images acquired over the last two months from Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT), the team has made initial estimates of the comet's water and dust production and used them to infer the size of its icy nucleus.

"Comet ISON has the potential to be among the brightest comets of the last 50 years, which gives us a rare opportunity to observe its changes in great detail and over an extended period," said Lead Investigator Dennis Bodewits, an astronomer at UMCP.

Additional factors, including an encounter with Mars followed by a scorching close approach to the sun, make comet ISON an object of special interest. In late February, at NASA's request, a team of comet experts initiated the Comet ISON Observing Campaign (CIOC) to assist ground- and space-based facilities in obtaining the most scientifically useful data.

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130329125112.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Sources: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, ScienceDaily.com .

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