The sky will be the brightest comet


14/12/2011

Record bright comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) should appear in the sky this week. The maximum brightness of the comet will reach the night of 15 to 16 November, when, in principle, can be a brighter one of the brightest planets. There will be a unique event in the event that the comet will not collapse when approaching the Sun.

Bright planet discovered 27 November amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy of Australia. At first his discovery astronomer considered a defect images on the first shots, but the bright spot began to appear in the following days. Then seeing Lovejoy confirmed by scientists from other observatories, and only 2 December Minor Planet Center of the International Union astronomer announced the official opening of the new bright comet.

At night, Dec. 16 path of the comet C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy) wakes laid at a minimum distance from the Sun. Heavenly body in the 186 fly thousands of miles from the star, this distance is more than a hundred times shorter than the distance from the Sun to the first planet Mercury. According to scientists, this comet belongs to the family and Kreutz group comets "scratching the Sun." This interesting group in the last century astronomer Heinrich Kreutz described.

In modern science, it is assumed that such Kreutz comet fragments are destroyed by two thousand years ago, a giant comet. Every day, these planets pass by the sun and destroyed, but because of the small size is almost impossible to see them. Astronomers to observe them is possible only in their "last hour." Space solar laboratory SOHO annually opens a thousand such objects.

Comet C/2011 W3 scientists nicknamed "solntsegryzuschey." Over the past decade, this is the first comet that could open with ground-based telescopes are on the way to the sun. Scientists have suggested that its size can be many times the size of the previously detected counterparts.

The official said the Ka-Dar Observatory Short Stanislaus like the unique discoveries are not made for decades, but this comet C/2011 W3, in his opinion, probably would not survive such a close approach to the Sun. The brightness of the comet during the approach can achieve the target magnitude of -3 to -4, and, according to some astronomers, and -5. Comparatively speaking, the brightest planet in the sky today is Venus, the rate of which reached magnitude 3.9.

Monitoring the unique bright celestial object would be difficult in the northern hemisphere, and it is most convenient for the comet will be able to track by satellite STEREO and apparatus SOHO. Solar Observatory, STEREO-B is already taken under the supervision of a unique comet in SOHO field of view the subject is only in the evening on December 13.

Article prepared by Oksana Skripko


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