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Comet heads our way for celestial show

Dec. 31, 2012 at 1:01 PM   |   Comments

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- A newly discovered comet could be the celestial spectacle of a century and light up the skies as bright as a full moon in 2013, its Russian discoverers say.

Amateur Russian skywatchers Artyom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski observed the object dubbed Comet ISON in September, Discovery.com reported.

"The object was slow and had a unique movement," Novichonok wrote on a comet-hunting blog.

"But we could not be certain that it was a comet, because the scale of our images are quite small and the object was very compact," he wrote of the object beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

However, follow-up observations confirmed the discovery.

In late 2013 Comet ISON is expected to pass extremely close to the sun, putting on a light show expected to be visible to the naked eye for skywatchers on Earth from early November through the first few weeks of January 2014.

The comet may be the brightest to appear in the sky since 1965 and may even be visible in daylight, the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center predicted.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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