Comet comes to the sun - level 3

Comet comes to the sun - level 3

03-12-2013 14:00

Scientists are getting ready for Comet Ison, which is about to have a close encounter with the sun.

On Thursday, the comet is expected to pass just one million kilometers from the sun’s surface, and if it’s not completely destroyed, it should be visible to the naked eye from us on Earth in December.

But traveling at 234 miles a second and reaching temperatures of about 2,700 degrees, scientists aren’t so sure the comet will survive.

“If Comet Ison survives intact, then yes, we will have a nice show later on in the month. If it actually crumbles into many pieces, in some ways that’s better for scientists, because we’ll be able to see inside the comet and see what the chemistry is like.”

The comet was first spotted in September because scientists say it’s exceptionally bright. Heat from the sun and ice within the comet’s body create this bright fuzzy-looking light, and as it edges closer towards us, we might be able to catch a glimpse.

“The closest approach to Earth will be in late December, and it’ll get about 40 million miles away from us. And even if the comet does break up into many chunks, all those chunks will keep going by in about the same orbit. It’s actually not going to get anywhere near us so just enjoy it, don’t worry about it, this is a true gift from the cosmos.

Difficult words: encounter (meeting), intact (not damaged), crumble (break apart), spot (notice), exceptionally (extremely), fuzzy (not clear), edge (move), glimpse (quick look), chunk (late piece).

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