If you’re wondering what to expect from Comet ISON, which has been described by astronomers as possibly being “the comet of the century,” the Orion Township Public Library is bringing in a NASA expert to help shed some light on the rare meteorological appearance.
NASA Ambassador Gerry Chevrier, a longtime Lake Orion resident, will speak at the library 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. That’s a week before the comet is expected to be visible in the Earth’s sky, on Thanksgiving night.
“Expected” is the operative word. ISON is a “sungrazing” comet, meaning that it will pass very close to the sun when it gets into the inner solar system in November. NASA says it will either “sizzle as a spectacular sky show or fizzle as it is torn apart by the sun’s gravity and baked by the sun.”
NASA said the latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope, taken in mid-October, suggest the comet is still intact as it enters the homestretch of its journey.
The comet may burn bright enough that it will be visible in the daylight.
It is named after a telescope for the International Scientific Optical Network. Two Russians spotted ISON through a 15.7-inch (0.4-meter) reflecting telescope from that organization. Chevrier has been active in astronomy for 20 years. He and his family are longtimeresidents of the Lake Orion area and he has done several public outreach programs in the Oakland County area.
Chevrier has an astronomy dome in Oxford, MI and is currently the Solar System Ambassador for this area. The Solar Ambassador program is sponsored by the JET PROPULSION LABORATORY in Pasadena, CA.For more information about the Comet ISON presentation at the library, contact Linda Pannuto at (248) 693-3000, Ext. 316 or visit the Orion Township Public Library at 825 Joslyn Road, Lake Orion. Or go to orionlibrary.org