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Comet ISON is here!


I missed it this morning- it was cloudy in Des Moines- but Comet ISON (left) is now visible about an hour before dawn!

More information here.

A burst of activity has heightened the possibility of an impressive apparition (that's what you call the appearance of a comet). But just how good a show we'll get still remains to be seen.

Its closest approach to the sun- aka "perihelion-" will be on Thanksgiving Day. It may not be visible for long, but expectations are currently for a spectacular show while it lasts- assuming that ISON survives its perilous encounter with the sun, or at least breaks up in such a way as to remain a more or less coherent object. Comet West, also known as "the Great Comet of 1976," actually brightened considerably as a result of breaking up as it emerged from the back of the sun.

I'm pumped. As the late Jack Horkheimer used to say, "Keep looking up!"
 

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