Announcing the "I predict Comet ISON's brightness contest"!

Posted by David Eicher
on Friday, November 01, 2013

Comet ISON on October 27, 2013 // Credit: Damian Peach
I’m delighted to announce a new contest starting today centered on Comet ISON. How bright do you really think the comet will get at its greatest?

Comet ISON has polarized the astronomy world, drawing raves from some (“This is going to be brighter than the Full Moon!”) and a total lack of respect from others (“It’s already fizzled.”) The Minor Planet Center of the International Astronomical Union predicts the comet will shine around magnitude –4.5, about the brightness of Venus, at 0h UT on November 29, 2013, close to the comet’s nearest passage to the Sun.

You can win prizes and have fun by predicting how bright Comet ISON will get! To get into the pool from whom five winners will be drawn, guess how bright ISON will become at its brightest and express that in magnitudes. Will it only be magnitude 2, about the brightness of Polaris, the North Star? Or magnitude –1, the brightness of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky? Or magnitude –3, as bright as Jupiter?

Make a prediction of how bright you think ISON will be at its best, to one-tenth of a magnitude, and share it with us via social media. Using the hashtag #EverythingISON, post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, and we’ll be on the lookout. But be sure to share your prediction by midnight EST November 15.

After the comet’s performance is fully analyzed, by December 15, 2013, we’ll announce the winners and award the prizes.

Five winners will receive a one-year subscription to Astronomy and a copy of The Great Comet of 2013 signed by the Astronomy’s staff.

Good luck!

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