Skywatchers Cross Fingers As ISON Journeys Behind Sun

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Comet ISON passed through Virgo earlier this month. (Aaron Kingery/NASA)
Comet ISON (Aaron Kingery/NASA)

Astronomers are monitoring the one-of-a-kind Comet ISON as it journeys behind the sun, where it will either burn up, lose its tail or emerge triumphant for all to see in the early days of December.

ISON, which was visible last week, is made up of chunks of ice and rock from a distant field of debris beyond Pluto, which is teeming with leftovers from the Solar System's formation.

The comet — the size of a small mountain — is 4.5 billion years old and is making its first foray into our solar system. If it survives its journey behind the sun, it should be visible sometime after December 1.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson speaks with Kelly Beatty of Sky and Telescope Magazine.


This segment aired on November 26, 2013.


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