Institute of Astronomy

Comet C/2012 S1

Published on 22/01/2013 
Question: 

As an astronomy buff and fan , I'm very excited about the upcoming pass of ISON this year ! While playing with the JPL Small-Body Database Browser , I noticed that it passes somewhat close to the Earths orbital plane around Nov. 14 2013 on it's journey outbound. I was wondering if there is a chance  that it  could product  new meteor shower as Earth as it passes that point about about Jan, 15 , 2014?

The projected orbit of comet C/2012 S1 will indeed take it quite close to Earth's orbital plane and could lead to a new meteor shower that would be visible around 14th-15th January.  Since the comet will pass very close to the Sun it is not yet known whether it will survive perihelion, if it doesn't there may not be a new meteor shower.  It also depends on the amount of gas and dust that the comet releases on its journey, which is difficult to predict beforehand.

As a side note the name of the comet is strictly C/2012 S1, ISON stands for International Scientific Optical Network, and indicates the observatory it was discovered from.  As it is only ever going to come past once we just give it a designation rather than naming it after the discoverers (in this case Vitaly Nevsky and Artyom Novichonok).

Page last updated: 22 January 2013 at 16:47