Comet ISON Approaches Perihelion
Currently located beyond the orbit of Jupiter, Comet ISON is heading for a very close encounter with the sun next year. In November 2013, it will pass less than 0.012 Astronomical Units (Wikipedia) (1.8 million kilometers) from the center of the Sun, 1.2 million kilometers from the solar surface. The fierce heating it experiences in that approach could turn the comet into a bright naked-eye object.
NOTE: This visualization was revised in March 2013 to fix an ephemeris error. Other enhancements were included in the revision. Also fixed an error where perihelion distance was mistakenly labeled as distance from solar surface.
Visualization of the orbit of comet ISON as it moves into the inner solar system in 2013.
A side view movie of the Comet ISON approach from the ecliptic plane (orbit of Earth is a line).
View of Comet ISON approach from above the ecliptic plane.
"Fly around" of the Comet ISON orbit to illustrate it's spatial shape and orientation with respect to the planets of the inner solar system.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Datasets used in this visualization
JPL/Horizon Orbital EphemeridesID: 597Ephemeris NASA/JPL
DE421 (JPL DE421)ID: 752Ephemeris NASA/JPL
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.