November, 2013 (01:19)
A city-sized chunk of ice and rock hurtles toward the sun. Astronomers around the world track Comet ISON.
September 21, 2012 (03:16)
Astronomers around the world locate a small point of light, Comet ISON. It lies almost 600 million miles away and is as big as a city. Scientists amassed an advanced armada to study the comet.
Harbingers of Doom (02:13)
Francisco Diego discusses historical reactions to comets. He quotes 16th century astronomy perceptions.
Comets, Portents of War? (01:55)
Francisco Diego discusses the Bayeux Tapestry and the conquest of the Aztec Empire.
February 15, 2013 (01:03)
Cameras capture a chunk of rock hurtling towards Chelyabinsk, Russia. The meteorite disintegrates but the shockwave shatters windows, injuring over 1,000 people.
First Line of Defense (03:33)
Comet ISON is approximately a half mile across. Gareth Williams gathers observation information to calculate ISON's orbit and determine if it will reach Earth.
November 28, 2013 (02:19)
ISON is a sun grazing comet. Astronomer Karl Battams reflects on the possible consequences.
January, 2013 (01:44)
ISON is almost 500 million miles from the sun. Astronomer Carey Lisse determines the comet's origin by its orbit.
ISON's Origin (01:36)
Astronomer Amy Mainzer uses sugar to explain the formation of planets and the Oort cloud: ISON is rock and ice leftover from the solar system's formation.
Galaxies are Not Static (01:44)
ISON speeds closer to the sun. Lisse explains what sent the comet tumbling out of the Oort cloud.
April 10, 2013 (03:09)
Comet ISON reaches Jupiter's orbit. Bonnie Meinke explains what she has learned about ISON from Hubble Space Telescope images; see a sublimation demonstration.
ISON's Elements (02:56)
Experts estimate how bright ISON will become. Learn what happens to the comet as it warms up. Every gas permits a unique line pattern. See a demonstration of spectroscopy.
Lewis Dartnell discusses comet chemical profiles; he creates a "comet." Comet ISON contains the chemistry that existed when our solar system formed.
Isaac Newton's "Principia" (03:04)
Comets helped prove gravity is a force that holds the universe together. Science historian Patricia Fara discusses the 1680 comet that captured Newton's attention.
Scientific Collaboration (04:31)
Edmond Halley used mathematics to explain the motions of planets and comets. Newton proved their orbits were ellipses. Halley predicted the return of a comet in 1758.
Halley's Comet Returns in 1910 (01:23)
Astronomers predicted the comet would come close to the Earth and contaminate the atmosphere with cyanogen.
Spring, 1997 (01:28)
Comet Hale–Bopp triggered a series of sinister events in San Diego. See video footage of the Heaven's Gate cult; members commit mass suicide.
October 2, 2013 (03:12)
ISON is within 200 million miles of the sun. Adam McKay uses spectroscopy to observe the comet's coma; observations suggest ISON's nucleus is gushing water vapor.
Organic Compounds in Comets (02:52)
Dartnell considers the possibility that Earth's water came from comets. An average sized comet carries millions of tons of water; comets also carry molecules necessary for life.
November 28, 2013 (02:54)
See three possible scenarios of ISON's encounter with the sun. Experts attempt to observe the comet with the Mcmath-Pierce Solar Telescope.
Battam explains solar images captured with the SOHO satellite. See Comet ISON enter the solar atmosphere.
Death of a Comet? (02:45)
Experts examine Comet ISON images captured with a coronagraph on the SOHO satellite; part of ISON has survived the sun's atmosphere.
Credits: Comet Encounter (00:40)
Credits: Comet Encounter
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