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Comet Ison, So-Called 'Comet Of The Century', Now Visible From The UK Through Binoculars (PHOTOS)

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NASA ISON
Nasa

The so-called 'Comet of the Century' might not be such a dud at all.

Comet Ison, currently hurtling towards the Sun ahead of a potentially dazzling ignition later this month, is now visible from the UK with a decent pair of binoculars.

Its appearance in the autumn sky has been predicted since 2012, with astronomers saying it could potentially shine as bright as the Moon - and may even be visible during the day.

nasa ison

Above: a five-minute exposure of Ison taken by Nasa earlier in November

Comets are inherently unpredictable, and hopes had recently been dulled that it might live up to its optimistic nickname.

But now it looks like Ison might put on a show after all. It's drawing closer to a pass just 730,000 miles above the Sun's surface, and is still intact and increasingly visible in the night sky.

"I have made my first confirmed binocular sighting of C/2012 S1 ISON as well," said British astronomer Pete Lawrence this weekend. "ISON's head appears small and stellar through a pair of 15x70s optics."

Space Weather says that the comet is visible in the constellation Virgo, through binoculars low in the pre-dawn eastern sky.

It's still impossible to say for sure whether Ison will hold together as it passes over the Sun, or that the light show it eventually puts on will be as spectacular as hoped. But if everything goes the astronomers' way, we could be in for a pretty amazing set of late November fireworks.

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