Paul Wiegert’s model of the Comet ISON debris stream around January 12, 2014

Summary: Assuming Comet ISON survives perihelion in November 2013, Earth will pass through a stream of fine-grained debris around January 12, 2014.

Veteran meteor researcher Paul Wiegert of the University of Western Ontario has been using a computer to model the trajectory of dust ejected by Comet ISON, and his findings suggest that an unusual meteor shower could be in the offing.

“For several days around January 12, 2014, Earth will pass through a stream of fine-grained debris from Comet ISON,” says Wiegert. “The resulting shower could have some interesting properties.

According to Wiegert’s computer models, the debris stream is populated with extremely tiny grains of dust, no more than a few microns wide, pushed toward Earth by the gentle radiation pressure of the sun. They will be hitting at a speed of 56 km/s or 125,000 mph. Because the particles are so small, Earth’s upper atmosphere will rapidly slow them to a stop.

Video from: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2013/19apr_isonids/

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