If you haven’t heard yet, there’s a comet heading our way.
ISON is supposed to be the comet of the century! So all eyes (and telescopes) have been observing what may be the one and only pass for ISON through the solar system.
Recently, astronomers using the Spitzer Space Telescope observed what appears to be strong carbon dioxide emissions from the Comet.
So what do these carbon emissions mean? Well it helps to determine what type of comet ISON is. Although some dispute the vernacular, ISON is most likely a “dirty snowball” comet.
Carey Lisse, leader of NASA’s Comet ISON Observation Campaign said: “We estimate ISON is emitting about 2.2 million pounds of what is most likely carbon dioxide gas and about 120 million pounds of dust every day.”
Scientist are hopeful that all the data collected from ISON’s passing will shed some light on the formation of the solar system. But because of its trajectory and composition, there is a real probability the ISON may fall into the Sun or get broken into multiple pieces like Shoemaker-Levy 9 did before plowing into Jupiter. Another possibility is that the trip around the Sun will alter ISON’s orbit so radically that it will leave the solar system forever.
Hopefully, they get all the data they need. This may be a one and done trip.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +