Not strictly true - this’ll only happen if the comet survives its close encounter with the Sun with enough volatiles intact to make a nice tail by the time it’s close to Earth, which isn’t guaranteed.

If it does survive, though, this is going to be the comet of the century, outshining the full moon at night and possibly visible during the day.

It turns out that a nucleus-free dust cloud of comet ISON survived encounter with the Sun!

With a comet like this you just have to wait and see what will happen. It held together a long time, got very bright last night, faded this morning, then apparently fell apart. Still, there’s more observing to do, and of course much data over which to go through.
(Source. The last post on ISON here)


“Sungrazing” is an oxymoron
In spite of hopes and fantasy.
Nothing survives the touch of the Sun
(Save few like the Kreutz family).
Yet it is inexorable and fair
For comets’ deadly attempts.
Destined to keep on going,
They’re the Great Star’s contempt.
Like many have done before,
This mass of ice and dust
Ventured close to the Fire,
Bracing itself as it must,
‘Twas only around the corner,
The jubilation of the brilliance,
Endurance would keep it together
As it approached perihelion.
Wishing to mean something—
The comet of the century—
Not knowing that the Grace
Burns anything in its territory.
Like most other sungrazers,
It was defeated and gone,
Not a single trail left behind
To inspire with the coming of dawn.

The moment of truth has finally arrived for Comet ISON. It is slated to skim just within 684,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) above the surface of the sun today (Nov. 28) in a cosmic maneuver that skywatchers and scientists alike have been anticipating since the comet’s discovery in September 2012. The solar passage could destroy Comet ISON, or make it brighter than ever. We will know soon!

(Image Credit: Waldemar Skorupa from Kahler Asten, Germany)

Comet ISON Swoops Around the Sun

Comet ISON swoops around the sun and through Scorpius. This composite merges an SDO AIA 171 sun image (Nov. 28, 2214 UT), SOHO C2 (2036 UT) and C3 (2030 UT) images, and a DSS view of the sky in northern Scorpius.

Credit: NASA/ESA/SOHO, NASA/SDO, DSS, and Francis Reddy