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By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | December 5, 2013
Scientists are still hoping to learn much from Comet ISON, but as it fizzles, sky watchers who were hoping to see it can get a glimpse of Comet Lovejoy instead. Lovejoy, officialy known as C/2013 R1, came its closest to Earth on Nov. 19, about 37 million miles away, according to EarthSky.org . It is near the constellation Bootes and the bright star Arcturus just over the northeast horizon in the early mornings in December, and you can see it with binoculars. It will get closer to the horizon and harder to spot as the month goes on. Despite the fact that ISON is no longer expected to be bright enough to see with the naked eye, scientists are tracking it as it moves away from the sun. Those at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore plan to observe it with the Hubble Space Telescope once it moves far enough from the sun's glare.
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By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | December 5, 2013
Scientists are still hoping to learn much from Comet ISON, but as it fizzles, sky watchers who were hoping to see it can get a glimpse of Comet Lovejoy instead. Lovejoy, officialy known as C/2013 R1, came its closest to Earth on Nov. 19, about 37 million miles away, according to EarthSky.org . It is near the constellation Bootes and the bright star Arcturus just over the northeast horizon in the early mornings in December, and you can see it with binoculars. It will get closer to the horizon and harder to spot as the month goes on. Despite the fact that ISON is no longer expected to be bright enough to see with the naked eye, scientists are tracking it as it moves away from the sun. Those at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore plan to observe it with the Hubble Space Telescope once it moves far enough from the sun's glare.
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NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2013
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured what space scientists called potentially the "comet of the century", Comet ISON, as it speeds toward Earth at 47,000 mph. The comet, technically known as  C/2012 S1,  will pass within 1.1 million miles of Earth seven months from now, and it could be visible with the naked eye if it doesn't break up passing by the sun. It could be so bright, in fact, that it would outshine the full moon, according to...
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 27, 2013
Comet ISON's journey from outside the solar system toward the sun reaches its crescendo Thursday, and you can follow along live through a NASA live webcast. The comet will pass less than 700,000 miles from the sun's surface. Scientists and amateur astronomers will be paying close attention to any available observations of the comet to see if it survives its first close encounter with a star. If it stays together, it could mean some spectacular skywatching in December. But it's possible that the comet's nucleus of dust and ice could break into pieces or disintegrate.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 14, 2013
Comet ISON, a rare type of comet from outside the solar system, has brightened "considerably" in recent days and could be on the cusp of visibility to the naked eye in the night sky, scientists say. Scientists are calling on the astronomy community and amateur skywatchers to closely monitor the comet as it nears a close pass by the sun later this month. They want to see whether the comet continues to brighten, and what that could mean is happening to it. Astronomers have been tracking ISON since last September, when  scientists from Belarus and Russia who are part of an international collaboration called the International Scientific Optical Network spotted its faint impression on images captured by a telescope near Kislovodsk, Russia.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 27, 2013
Comet ISON's journey from outside the solar system toward the sun reaches its crescendo Thursday, and you can follow along live through a NASA live webcast. The comet will pass less than 700,000 miles from the sun's surface. Scientists and amateur astronomers will be paying close attention to any available observations of the comet to see if it survives its first close encounter with a star. If it stays together, it could mean some spectacular skywatching in December. But it's possible that the comet's nucleus of dust and ice could break into pieces or disintegrate.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 18, 2013
This week could offer a chance to see Comet ISON in the pre-dawn sky, though the best chances come next month, assuming the comet survives a close pass by the sun. The comet is on its way toward the sun, so with each passing day, it gets closer to dawn and harder to see, even though the comet itself is brightening, said Dean Hines, a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Unless you are in an area with a very dark sky, binoculars or a telescope are needed.
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By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 10, 2013
A comet looping behind the sun right now could emerge this fall as a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that shines in the sky so brightly, it is visible with the naked eye around the world - if it survives. Comet C/2012 S1, dubbed Comet ISON in honor of the network of observatories responsible for spotting it, is expected to pass about 40 million miles from Earth in December. As it grazes the sun, it could glow on the early morning and evening horizons from November into January if it survives that close-up encounter.
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By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2013
Scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory are set to launch a massive balloon above the skies of New Mexico this weekend for a glimpse of Comet ISON, the rare comet on its way to looping past the sun and Earth in the coming months. The balloon will be carrying a telescope that will observe ISON, as well as another comet that commonly passes through the solar system, in infrared light to see the water and carbon dioxide emanating from it. The mission was pulled together over the past seven months to gather data on ISON before it passes closely by the sun, potentially destroying the comet.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | March 8, 2013
Fresh off close brushes with a comet and an asteroid last month, the planet is up for a close view of the Comet PANSTARRS as it passes by Earth. It could be visible with the naked eye or at least with binoculars. Such an opportunity arises only about once every 5-10 years, according to NASA, though there will be two such chances this year. This time, the comet in sight is one discovered in 2011, known officially as comet 2011 L4 (PANSTARRS), named for the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System in Hawaii that first spotted it. The comet has been in view for the southern hemisphere for the past year and a half, but is shifting into view for the northern hemisphere starting next week.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 21, 2013
Still have questions about how and when to see Comet ISON? Editors from Astronomy and Discover magazines will answer them online Thursday. The magazines are hosting a Google Hangout chat from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., with editors and other experts answering questions. They will discuss questions including where and when to see the comet, how you can photograph it, and what scientists might learn from it. RSVP for the event or simply tune in at 3 p.m. The magazines, in partnership with the National Science Foundation, are meanwhile holding a Comet ISON photo contest with three top $2,500 prizes.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 18, 2013
This week could offer a chance to see Comet ISON in the pre-dawn sky, though the best chances come next month, assuming the comet survives a close pass by the sun. The comet is on its way toward the sun, so with each passing day, it gets closer to dawn and harder to see, even though the comet itself is brightening, said Dean Hines, a scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Unless you are in an area with a very dark sky, binoculars or a telescope are needed.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 14, 2013
Comet ISON, a rare type of comet from outside the solar system, has brightened "considerably" in recent days and could be on the cusp of visibility to the naked eye in the night sky, scientists say. Scientists are calling on the astronomy community and amateur skywatchers to closely monitor the comet as it nears a close pass by the sun later this month. They want to see whether the comet continues to brighten, and what that could mean is happening to it. Astronomers have been tracking ISON since last September, when  scientists from Belarus and Russia who are part of an international collaboration called the International Scientific Optical Network spotted its faint impression on images captured by a telescope near Kislovodsk, Russia.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2013
Scientists have plenty of questions about a bizarre asteroid spotted spouting what looks like six comet-like tails, but they are nevertheless giving the public an opportunity to make their own queries about it. Researchers are holding a Google Hangout on Thursday to talk about the discovery, including how and when the asteroid was discovered, what its six tails are made of, and how common such asteroids are in space. The Baltimore-based Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA released images of the asteroid last Thursday . It was found by astronomers observing the solar system's asteroid belt using the Hubble Space Telescope.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 4, 2013
Learn more about Comet ISON and other visitors to the solar system from the experts who study it right in our backyard. The Space Telescope Science Institute is holding a monthly lecture Tuesday, this time from astrophysicist Frank Summers, titled “Great Comets from Humble Origins & Eyes on ISON.” You can also get a chance to peer into the heavens from the institute's observatory. The event is free and starts at 8 p.m. in the institute's auditorium at 3700 San Martin Drive.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | October 1, 2013
Comet ISON is sweeping past Mars more closely than it will ever get to Earth on Tuesday, providing an observing opportunity that could show whether the comet will be visible in our night sky later this year. The comet is passing within 0.07 astronomical units of the Red Planet, six times closer than it will come to Earth. (An astronomical unit, or AU, is the average distance between the Earth and sun, about 93 million miles.) Though NASA is affected by the government shutdown, its planned observations of the fly-by are set to go on, according to EarthSky.org . NASA will view the comet from its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to see how much gas it is releasing, something that could help indicate how large its nucleus is. If the nucleus, a hunk of rock, dust and ice, is larger than half a kilometer wide, it is thought to be able to survive a pass through the sun's corona in November, meaning it could shine brightly enough to be seen with the naked eye from Earth in December.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | November 13, 2013
Scientists have plenty of questions about a bizarre asteroid spotted spouting what looks like six comet-like tails, but they are nevertheless giving the public an opportunity to make their own queries about it. Researchers are holding a Google Hangout on Thursday to talk about the discovery, including how and when the asteroid was discovered, what its six tails are made of, and how common such asteroids are in space. The Baltimore-based Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA released images of the asteroid last Thursday . It was found by astronomers observing the solar system's asteroid belt using the Hubble Space Telescope.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | October 1, 2013
Comet ISON is sweeping past Mars more closely than it will ever get to Earth on Tuesday, providing an observing opportunity that could show whether the comet will be visible in our night sky later this year. The comet is passing within 0.07 astronomical units of the Red Planet, six times closer than it will come to Earth. (An astronomical unit, or AU, is the average distance between the Earth and sun, about 93 million miles.) Though NASA is affected by the government shutdown, its planned observations of the fly-by are set to go on, according to EarthSky.org . NASA will view the comet from its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to see how much gas it is releasing, something that could help indicate how large its nucleus is. If the nucleus, a hunk of rock, dust and ice, is larger than half a kilometer wide, it is thought to be able to survive a pass through the sun's corona in November, meaning it could shine brightly enough to be seen with the naked eye from Earth in December.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2013
Scientists from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory are set to launch a massive balloon above the skies of New Mexico this weekend for a glimpse of Comet ISON, the rare comet on its way to looping past the sun and Earth in the coming months. The balloon will be carrying a telescope that will observe ISON, as well as another comet that commonly passes through the solar system, in infrared light to see the water and carbon dioxide emanating from it. The mission was pulled together over the past seven months to gather data on ISON before it passes closely by the sun, potentially destroying the comet.
HEALTH
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 10, 2013
A comet looping behind the sun right now could emerge this fall as a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle that shines in the sky so brightly, it is visible with the naked eye around the world - if it survives. Comet C/2012 S1, dubbed Comet ISON in honor of the network of observatories responsible for spotting it, is expected to pass about 40 million miles from Earth in December. As it grazes the sun, it could glow on the early morning and evening horizons from November into January if it survives that close-up encounter.
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