Two Comets will be the huge natural sky-shows this year

This year two brightest comets will pass by the Earth. One of the comets is considered as the brightest in many years while the other is supposed to be the brightest in the history of the world.

Although there are comets in the sky but bright comets, which are visible to the naked eye, are rare and it is even rare that two comets be seen in the sky in the same year. So, this year could be called as the “year of the comets” with two comets pass close to us.

Comets are the astronomical objects composed of a mass of ice and dust with a long shiny tail produced by vaporization, when pass close to the Sun. As comet specialist David Levy said, “Comets are like cats; they have tails, and they do precisely what they want.”

Comet C/2011 L4

Comet C/2011 L4 is the comet discovered in 2011 as the number in the name represents. It was discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System, known by the acronym Pan-STARRS. It is one of three comets already discovered by this program.

Pan-STARRS discovery image of Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS). The comet is shown by the red arrow (Credit: Wikipedia)

Pan-STARRS discovery image of Comet C/2011 L4 (PANSTARRS). The comet is shown by the red arrow (Credit: Wikipedia)

This comet will be visible to the observers through naked eye in the Southern Hemisphere in early February in morning sky. Its brightest point will be reached on March 10th, when it will move close to the sun and in the evening sky, and will be visible to the observers in the Northern Hemisphere. You can see it just above and the left of the setting Sun. It will remain visible as a bright object in the evening sky in March, after 10th of March, and the first two weeks in April.

Comet C/2012 S1

Comet C/2012 S1 is the comet discovered on September 21, 2012 with the help of a telescope in Russia that is part of the International Scientific Optical Network, known as ISON.

The position of the comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) at the time of best visibility in the northern hemisphere: December 11, 2013. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

The position of the comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) at the time of best visibility in the northern hemisphere: December 11, 2013. (Credit: NASA/JPL)

This comet will be seen through naked eye in both of the hemispheres in the first week of November. On November 28, it will pass very close to the sun i.e. 680,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) of the surface of the sun that is even closer than Mercury. If it will be safe during this time, it will be brighter than the full moon immediately before and after this date, and will be visible in the daytime sky. It will remain the bright object for the month of December and the early January 2014.