The recently discovered Comet 2012 S1  is predicted to become a very bright comet.  Passing to within 2 million kilometres of the Sun, Comet 2012 S1 is predicted to reach a peak magnitude of -13 around midnight UT on November 28/29, when it is less than a degree from the Sun.  It might be visible in daylight from the UK on November 28 or 29 when it could reach magnitude -6, but at only 3° elongation.

The media is already predicting it to be “the brightest comet in living memory” and “outshining the moon” but new comets that skim the Sun are unpredictable.  In 2007 Comet McNaught put on a wonderful display but Comet Kohoutek in 1993 was a big disappointment. The near parabolic orbit suggests that Comet 2012 S1 comes fresh from the Oort cloud.

Comet 2012 S1, was discovered in September by two astronomers using a telescope at the Kislovodsk Observatory.  More details can be found on the BAA Comet Section web site.

Image: Comet C/2006 M4 (SWAN)  by Peter Campbell-Burns

 


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