In case you haven’t heard, in a few weeks we are supposed to be in for a really good astronomical show. Comet ISON has been billed as the comet of the century and at one point was predicted to rival some of the great comets recorded by painters and writers since antiquity.
But ISON doesn’t seem to be cooperating. It isn’t brightening well and is now three times dimmer than expected. It seems to be releasing more gas and less dust than most other comets, which is keeping it from becoming the long tailed spectacle scientists thought it might be. Space.com has a great article, which includes comments by some of the scientists trying to figure out what is going on.
There’s still a possibility that ISON will put on a show. We won’t know for a few more weeks. In between time it has to survive a close encounter with the sun. Either way, I hope we learn something about comets and come up with some new theories which explain why ISON seems to be more gas than shine.