It is due to this conjunction that we are likely to see Comet ISON, C/2012 S1, and 2P/Encke in the night sky together as shown in the picture by Dave West below.
November 21, 2013 is when Encke perihelions. The above diagram shows quite dramatically the difference in orbital path of a common or garden periodic comet, à la Encke, and that of a sungrazer such as ISON. Notice how close ISON gets to the Sun compared to Encke.
Encke at perihelion is 0.33 AU from the Sun. ISON, in contrast, will be at 0.12 – both these distances from the center of the Sun rather than the Solar Surface. To get the Solar surface reading subtract 0.00465 AU.
In terms of separation ISON and Encke never get close enough to get in each others way or cause any perturbations.
Unlike C/2012 S1 which could be making its maiden voyage around the Sun, Encke is a routine periodic. Moreover, it has the shortest orbital period, i.e., 3.3 years, of any known comet. So it is a regular visitor, on occasions coming quite close to Earth. On October 17, 2013 it will be 0.48 AU, 44.3 million miles, away from Earth as it heads towards the Sun. That is a bit further out than the 39.9 million mile flyby expected from ISON if it survives perihelion.
ISON = I son or ZION
ENKE = ENKI
A theory holds that the ancient symbol of the swastika appeared in a variety of cultures across the world at a similar time, and could have been inspired by the appearance of a comet from head on, as the curved jets would be reminiscent of the swastika shape (see Comets and the swastika motif). Comet Encke has sometimes been identified as the comet in question. In their 1982 book Cosmic Serpent (page 155) Victor Clube and Bill Napier reproduce an ancient Chinese catalogue of cometary shapes from the Mawangdui Silk Texts, which includes a swastika-shaped comet, and suggest that some of the comet drawings were related to the breakup of the progenitor of Encke and the Taurid meteoroid stream. Fred Whipple in his The Mystery of Comets (1985, page 163) points out that Comet Encke's polar axis is only 5 degrees from its orbital plane: such an orientation is ideal to have presented a pinwheel like aspect to our ancestors when Encke was more active.
comet was named after goober head...
Comet ISON was discovered last September by amateur astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. It takes its name from the equipment the duo used — the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON) near Kislovodsk, Russia.
google is your friend...
This water and magma and insect planet we call earth is drifting through a cosmic shooting gallery...
We are all living on borrowed time...
Cant those damn pesky alien children find something else to shoot at with their cometary slingshots?!
"Mom johnny shot earth last time and made the dinosaurs go extinct!
"Now it my turn to shoot earth and make humans go extinct!
"Johnny let your sister have her turn or i'll take away your new flying saucer!
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