How to Spot Comet ISON in the Early Morning Sky

OK, you’ve waited patiently for "Comet of the Century" ISON to brighten and reappear in the dawn sky. Now it has. Now you’re chomping at the bit for a look at it in your telescope. Before you set the alarm and venture into the night, let’s prepare for what to expect. The better you know your target, the easier it… » 9/04/13 11:09am 9/04/13 11:09am

Hubble Snaps Breathtaking New Picture of ISON, “Comet of the Century"

When Comet ISON's trajectory brings it scorchingly close to the Sun later this year, astronomers believe it could emerge from its close encounter as one of the brightest comets ever seen from Earth. Now, Hubble has captured a stunning image of the approaching ice-ball in flight, against a backdrop bursting with nearby… » 7/17/13 8:20am 7/17/13 8:20am

This "comet factory" reveals first secrets of planetary formation

Planets have to start out somewhere, and the leading theory is that they begin as dust particles clumping together to form larger and larger building blocks, before finally emerging eons later as full-blown planets. But the exact physics that would allow such clumps to form has long been frustratingly unclear. » 6/09/13 5:00pm 6/09/13 5:00pm

NASA Captures New Photo of Potential "Comet of the Century"

In November of this year, a comet by the name of ISON will graze past the Sun. Its close encounter has the potential to ignite the comet in such a way that it could be visible from Earth in the middle of the day, and even outshine the Moon at night. Astronomers say it is a potential "comet of the century." And this,… » 3/31/13 10:30am 3/31/13 10:30am

A comet made of marshmallow bunnies and chicks destroys the Earth in…

The best thing about this time of year isn't a little extra daylight in the evening or the blossoming of spring flowers; it's the endlessly inventive dioramas people make with those sugar-coated marshmallow treats known as Peeps. In this one, posted by redditor jostler57 on behalf of a friend, we witness the… » 3/14/13 12:40pm 3/14/13 12:40pm

NASA's Guide to Viewing the Comet PANSTARRS this Month

Yesterday, the comet 2011 L4 (called PANSTARRS after the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) became visible in the Northern Hemisphere for the first time, meaning some of us north of the equator will have a chance to view a comet before ISON's passage in the fall. But you'll need the right conditions… » 3/09/13 1:00pm 3/09/13 1:00pm

What's the difference between a comet, asteroid, meteor, meteoroid and…

With all the recent buzz over asteroid AD14, the meteor over Chelyabinsk, the fragments of meteorite recovered in Russia's Ural mountains, and yesterday's news that the fireball originated from our solar system's asteroid belt, one can't help but wonder: what's the difference between all these -oids, -ors and -ites?… » 2/27/13 12:40pm 2/27/13 12:40pm

"Once-in-a-century" ISON comet could be visible from Earth during the…

Last year, astronomers using the Russian International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) spied something intriguing just beyond the orbit of Jupiter: a cometary body so large, and with a trajectory that will bring it so close to the Sun, that it could potentially be visible from Earth in the middle of the day (not… » 1/16/13 11:20am 1/16/13 11:20am