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Fragments of ISON comet do not threaten Earth

December 05, 2013, 6:12 UTC+3 SAINT-PETERSBURG
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SAINT-PETERSBURG, December 05, 5:59 /ITAR-TASS/. Fragments of the ISON comet will not threaten the Earth, they will be at a considerable distance, astronomer Stanislav Korotkiy, supervisor of astronomical research at the Ka-Dar private observatory said.

The scientist explained to tar-Tass correspondent the comet's disintegrated not into dust, " the fragments are not that small / 10 to 100 meters /", so they "have slightly slowed down the orbital velocity at a distance from the Sun." Korotkiy believes that when the cloud of the comet's fragments crosses the Earth's orbit around the Sun - about December 24-25, the Earth will be no closer than 50 million kilometres from that point. This is 200 times farther than the distance to the Moon , thus, the comet's fragments can not threaten the Earth. If the comet did not go into pieces, the distance would have been even more impressive - about 65 million kilometres, Korotkiy said.

Earlier, press secretary of the Chief / Pulkovo / astronomical observatory Sergey Smirnov told Itar-Tass correspondent that the cloud of the ISON comet would cross the Earth's orbit with a delay of about a week. During that time, the Earth, as it continues its way along the orbit around the Sun, will approach the cloud's intersection point with its orbit. And it could cause a meteor rain on the New Year's eve or on first days of the coming year.

Whether the forecasts are correct or wrong, scientists will see during their observations of the comet in the coming weeks. Stanislav Kototkiy reports that the comet cloud will be visible for another a week, and then - as it distances from the Sun - it will be extinguishing. Kototkiy added that the time of the comet's collapse might be considered to be noon on November 28 Moscow time.

"As the comet passes the perihelion - the point closest to the Sun's orbit - it is a clear proof of the comet's glittering should grow constantly, but at noon Moscow time, it decreased by ten the nucleus decay." On the same day at 22:38 Moscow time, the comet's fragments passed the perihelion at 1.1 million kilometres from the Sun where its diameter is 700 thousand kilometres.

The astronomer followed the collapse of the comet's nucleus via the Internet broadcast from an American telescope in the Earth's orbit. "It was impossible to observe the process from the Earth: the comet was indistinguishable in the solar corona. And from the space the sky always seems dark, thus it becomes possible to study even objects close to the Sun," he said.

It was in mid-November that the scientist got confident the ISON comet "will not survive meeting with the Sun." "On November 13-14, there was a large jump in the comet's brightness, by 2-3 magnitudes at a time. This indicated there was something wrong about it, it was a decay," the scientist said. In early December, he went to the Caucasus to watch the comet cloud from Earth.

Several days earlier to Arhyz / Karachay-Cherkessia / where the Russian Academy of Scientists' Astrophysical Observatory is located, left one of the comet's discoverers - Artem Novichonok. He has been observing its movements since September 21, 2012, where, together with his colleague Vitaly Nevsky he saw it for the first time through a telescope at the ISON-Kislovodsk observatory. Comet gets its name ISON Comet/2012 S1 by the mane of the observatory where it was opened.

Stanislav Korotkiy is a most active Russian astronomer. He has opened more than 50 asteroids; he is also engaged in studies of comets, flashes of novae and supernovae and gamma-ray bursts.

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