Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), discovered on September 21, 2012, by Eastern European and Russian astronomers Arytom Novichonok and Vitali Nevski, using a 16-inch telescope as part of sky survey programme of International Scientific Optical Network, will make its closest approach to earth on December 26.

Comet ISON, said to have the potential to become a bright object visible to the naked eye, could not be sighted on November 28 (Thanksgiving Day 2013) due to cloudy skies, but can be sighted on December 26. The comet is named after the organisation, where its discovery was made, the Russia-based International Scientific Optical Network (ISON).

The comet is believed to have originated from the oort cloud region, a cloud of icy bodies, well beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto.

“According to its calculated orbit, on December 26, the comet is set to pass 6.3 crore km from the earth approximately. The ISON does not have chances of colliding with our planet,” Dr. P. Iyamperumal, executive director, Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre (TNSTC), said. The sun grazing comet ISON is touted as the ‘comet of the century’. The TNSTC will make arrangements to view the comet with telescopes on 26 of this month between 4-5.30 a.m. Registration is free.

For details, contact TNSTC 24410025.