So far, so good, as far as the latest news on Comet ISON goes.
Whether comet ISON will become the "comet of the century," as some predict, remains to be seen, but it's holding itself together and, if we're lucky, will be visible from Leesburg should it survive its Thanksgiving trip around the sun.
The sun isn't often kind to comets, and ISON is a “sungrazing” comet, meaning that it will pass very close to the sun when it gets into the inner solar system later this month. Which means it could break apart before we can ever see it at its best from Leesburg.
To see ISON, you'll need a pair of binoculars or a small telescope and you want to be away from Leesburg's brightest lights.
NASA says it will either “sizzle as a spectacular sky show or fizzle as it is torn apart by the sun’s gravity and baked by the sun.”
From NASA: "The comet will reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day — Nov. 28, 2013 — skimming just 730,000 miles above the sun’s surface. If it comes around the sun without breaking up, the comet will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere with the naked eye, and from what we see now, ISON is predicted to be a particularly bright and beautiful comet."
The latest images from the Hubble Space Telescope, taken in mid-October, suggest ISON is still intact as it enters the homestretch of its journey.
The comet may burn bright enough that it will be visible in the daylight.
It is named after a telescope for the International Scientific Optical Network. Two Russians spotted ISON through a 15.7-inch (0.4-meter) reflecting telescope from that organization.