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NASA Photo of the Day: Comet ISON Blazes Among the Stars in New Hubble Photo [PHOTOS] [VIDEO]

Jul 27, 2013 09:41 AM EDT by Brett Nuckles

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Dubbed the "Comet of the Century" by some astronomers, ISON rockets through space at an incredible 48,000 mph.

A new photo captures the spectacular scene as it blazes against a backdrop of distant galaxies, headed for a flight past the sun in late November.

The image was actually stitched together form five photos of ISON taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in April, Space.com reports.

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Scientists say the icy streaker could be at death's door. Sometime late this month ISON will cross what is known as the "frost line" -- the point about 250 million miles from the sun where radiation starts to chip away at comet's long, frozen tail, according to Fox News.

For astronomers and stargazers the event is cause for celebration. As water is driven off ISON this fall,  it will appear brighter and visible to the naked eye, even during the day.

 

A massive comet known as ISON drifts through our solar system in a blue blaze. (Photo : Photo : REUTERS/NASA)
A massive comet known as ISON drifts through our solar system in a blue blaze. (Photo : Photo : REUTERS/NASA)

 

It might become so bright it could even outshine the moon in the night sky, according to National Geographic.

But even as it glitters, the comet will be in peril. Radiation and pressure from solar rays could tear the comet into piece, and one solar flare-up could rip the comet's tail right off.

If it survives, it could light up the night sky for weeks.

 

ISON was first discovered in September 2012.

Learn about ISON's journey toward the sun in a video below:


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