Game of Thrones Fans Rejoice! Comet in 2013 May be Visible by Day
If you're a fan of the book series or HBO television series Game of Thrones, then being able to look up during the day and see a comet slowly crossing the skies will be a rare and exciting treat.
Skywatchers should be able to easily gaze upon a newly discovered comet that is expected to pass very close to the Sun, putting on what could be an unprecedented celestial show in 2013.
Amateur astronomers in Russia are credited with discovering Comet ISON, a blazing hunk of ice and rock that came from the Oort Cloud, and is expected to pass within 700,000 miles from the Sun on Nov. 28th. After that, ISON is projected to come close enough to be seen in Earth's skies, even during broad daylight.
In the popular Game of Thrones book series, a red comet seen in the skies portends dark times and tumultuous changes, including the return of mythical dragons.
"The object was slow and had a unique movement," said astronomer Artyom Novichonok in September. "But we could not be certain that it was a comet, because the scale of our images are quite small and the object was very compact." Three days after the discovery, however, the sighting was confirmed as a comet, just outside of the planet Jupiter's orbit.
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center predicts that when Comet ISON arrives near enough in early November 2013, you and I will be able to see it during the day, without the help of binoculars or telescopes. The comet is expected to persist in our skies until well into January of 2014, although the color of the comet's "tail" won't be known until it actually shows up.
Just as in Game of Thrones, a comet visible by day is a rare thing. The last time this happened was in 1965.
Former Dungeons and Dragons geeks might want to brush up on dragon lore... Winter is coming, and Earth might need you soon.
Image courtesy Game of Thrones