Newly-Discovered Comet May Outshine The Moon

A newly-discovered comet should become one of the brightest lights in the sky – even outshining the Moon, according to astronomers. Russian astronomers recently spotted comet 2012 S1 (ISON) 90 million kilometres from the Earth, according to a report by National Geographic.

It is currently a faint glow streaking between Saturn and Jupiter, but as the Sun’s gravity draws the comet closer, dust and ice will be blasted off, it giving it a highly-reflective tail.

Depending on how big the tails gets, the three-kilometre wide comet may become more visible for a few months in late 2013 and early 2014.

“If it lives up to expectations, this comet may be one of the brightest in history,” Raminder Singh Samra of the H R MacMillan Space Centre in Canada told National Geographic.

The comet already seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1690, which was one of the most stunning ever seen from Earth.

It should also pass about 10 million kilometres from Mars, possibly providing Nasa’s new Curiosity rover with a spectacular view.

But Mr Samra warned scientists should be cautious about predicting the brightness of comets, as they have failed to live up to expectations in the past.

( via