Comet Ison: What will happen when it reaches the sun 11/26

Comet Ison is getting ready to reach the sun, so what will happen to this comet?

What does Thanksgiving and a comet have in common?

The sun!

Comet Ison is a body of ice that is over 4 billion years old and on Thanksgiving, comet Ison will slingshot around the sun. Studying comets can give scientist a look back at the past.

Ison is what's called a sun-grazing comet, and it's making that closest approach to the sun, called perihelion.

Not only could Ison be a brilliant light in the sky but scientists are closely watching what happens.

Alex Young is a Heliophysicist and explains how Ison is a rare comet.

"This is the first time it's been here, the first time it's going to pass the sun, and it's also going to be the last time so it's kind of a pristine comet"

Scientists can look at the comet a little more closely and they will also be able to study it's interactions with the suns energy.

Young says they've only seen about 3,000 sun-grazing comets with solar telescopes, and few come very close to the solar atmosphere. Young explains how only one comet has made it around the sun, which was comet Lovejoy. Ison is much bigger then Lovejoy so there is a good possibility that Ison does survive the sun's energy.

NASA Scientists are excited to see what secrets this comets may reveal about our solar system.

Ison travels closest to the sun on Thanksgiving day. If it survives the trek or if the sun's force pulls the comet apart into several pieces to round the sun,  it will likely be a bright object that can be seen in the sky by the beginning of December.

Young says, "Starting about December 1st we'll see it low in the sky and early in the morning. By December 17th, it should be high enough in the sky that it's roughly the location of the big dipper."

NASA scientists and many astronomers will closely be watching Ison on Thanksgiving.
They expect to find out more about what the solar system was like over 4 billion years ago..

I will continue to post updates on our weather blog about what happens to Ison after it reaches the sun so keep checking back.

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