Comet ISON is on its way towards the sun. The comet will make its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving, November 28th, when it gets to within 730,000 miles above its surface. Its closest approach is known as perihelion. If it manages to come around the Sun intact, it will be visible, Comet ISON will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere with the naked eye. Based on some current observations, it is expected to be one bright and beautiful comet. However, some observations have suggested that the comet may be getting dimmer and is already in pieces.
Officially known as C/2012 S1, the comet was discovered by Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok on September 21, 2012 when it was about 585 million miles away. It is also known as Comet Nevski–Novichonok. Since this is its first trip around the sun, it is fairly pristine with its top layers still intact.
Scientists will point as many ground-based observatories as they can as well as space-based assets towards the comet along the way.
A Comet #ISON Google+ Hangout is scheduled for Thursday, November 28th from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM EST. NASA’s solar physicists will track the comet live during ISON’s closest approach to the sun and will answer your questions on Google+ during the broadcast or via Twitter using #ISON and #askNASA.