Watch Comet ISON hurtle toward the sun

NASA releases a short movie showing comet ISON's approach near the fiery grasp of the sun over the course of five days.

Comet ISON
Comet ISON poses for a telescopic photo by the Marshall Space Flight Center. NASA/MSFC/MEO/Cameron McCarty

Comet ISON is already a celebrity in the cosmos. The huge chunk of rock and primordial ice is on course to make a journey around the sun, and it's lighting up the heavens along the way. NASA released a short movie showing the comet's trajectory over the course of five days as it aims for the blazing beast that keeps us all warm down here on Earth.

The movie shows Mercury and Earth for perspective. The sun is off screen to the right. The movie was captured by the Stereo-A spacecraft's Heliospheric Imager.

As you watch the video, a second, smaller moving object comes into view. That speck is Comet Encke. Encke orbits the sun every few years. It really highlights the size of Comet ISON in comparison.

The comet's fate is still undecided, but it will spend Thanksgiving even closer to the sun as it closes in on its intended U-turn around the star. NASA will be hosting a Hangout to follow the event from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT. Check out Crave's ISON viewing guide for how you might be able to catch a glimpse of the speeding space object.

 

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