Observers around the world are reporting that Comet ISON brightened sharply last night and is now at the threshold of naked-eye visibility. By some reports, ISON surged in brightness by approximately 2 magnitudes over last 24 hours and is now brighter than comet Lovejoy.
If this trend continues, it will be a faint but easy naked-eye object by the end of the week, SpaceWeather reports.
The sudden uptick in brightness could be caused by a fresh vein of ice opening up in the comet's nucleus. Rapid vaporization of ice by solar heat is a sure way to boost a comet's visibility.
ISON's brush with the Sun on November 28th is very near and many more of these brightening events might happen but all three scenarios for ISON are still open. The first possible scenario is fizzle - ISON evaporates under intense tidal forces and solar radiation. The second scenario is break-up - ISON breaks into smaller chunks.
The third scenario is what everybody hopes will happen - sizzle - ISON survives its brush with the Sun and emerges so bright it becomes visible on Earth in daylight.
Meanwhile, Solar System Scope team added a second view at their 3D model of ISON's approach. Now you can switch to "View from Earth" and see the position of ISON in your night sky. You can use your system's position or enter any location you want. The link to the updated 3D model is here.
- If you'd like to share your images of ISON with us send them via this form. Be sure to include description with date taken and your name. You can include a link to your website or gallery, Flickr/Facebook/Twitter/.../ profile, copyright notice or any text you'd like to go with the image. You can also contact us with the link to the image.
November 15th update:
Outburst continues and images now reveal multiple streams from the comet. Damian Peach captured this awesome image of ISON today:
Image copyright: Damian Peach. November 15, 2013
Featured image: Comet ISON taken by Damian Peach on November 15, 2013.