Here is 2013’s most fascinating comet, as it was seen in April by the Hubble Space Telescope. Discovered in 2012, Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) was heralded at first as a comet of the century. Some said it would appear many times brighter than the full moon by late 2013. However, when the comet returned to our sky in August 2013 – after being behind the sun from Earth during June and July – it was not as bright as many hoped it would be. Now some are already writing off Comet ISON, using words like dud. How the mighty have fallen.
But the fact is that – while we can’t expect Comet ISON to be a comet of the century – we might still have a visible comet in the sky before 2013 ends, one we can see with the eye alone, perhaps with a long comet tail. And that would be wonderful!
No one knows yet.
And that’s why we’re waiting for Comet ISON.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.