A wise man once said “a comet cometh, a comet goeth,” and he was right. This is exactly what a comet does. In the meantime, it also “passeth over people’s heads and leaveth a blazing trail of light on the welkin.” Or something along these lines ;)

In about a year we might be opportune enough to witness the brightest comet humanity has ever seen… or nothing whatsoever! After all, these astronomical bodies, they’re so unpredictable.

Check out “A Newly Discovered Comet Is Headed Our Way” and see for yourself!



  • pore over something – be absorbed in the reading or study of something
  • spot something – notice it
  • as of now – at present
  • dim – not bright
  • visible with the naked eye – you can see it without any additional instruments
  • overhype – publicize excessively
  • dud = flop = fail
  • assert – state a fact confidently
  • incinerate = burn
  • volatile – easily evaporated


Think about it

Based on the text answer the following questions. Leave your answers in the comments below!

  • Who discovered what and where?
  • Why is this discovery so interesting? What may this comet potentially look like?
  • What are comets and how do they behave?
  • What is the difference between new and returning comets?
  • What are the similarities between Comet ISON and the Great Comet of 1680?

Practice makes perfect

 In the sentences below replace the phrases in bold with the expressions from the original text. Leave your answers in the comments below!
  • At present, Comet ISON, as it’s commonly being called, is more or less 625 million miles away from us and is 100,000 times fainter than the dimmest star that is visible without the use of any instruments—it’s only visible using advanced telescopes.
  • With current information, though, we cannot be certain, and experts don’t agree on what exactly we’ll see.
  • Astronomers, though, are positive that there’s no threat of actually colliding with Comet ISON.
  • A comet’s characteristic tail is composed of burning dust and gases that spread out from the comet as it passes by the sun.
  • If this is because of the fact that these two comets come from the same body and at some point split off from each other, then Comet ISON might behave a lot like its 1680 cousin.


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

  • ___ the constellation ___ Cancer was a point ___ light, barely visible, that didn’t correspond ___ any known star or other astronomical body.
  • It could be bright enough to be visible ___ full daylight ___ the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps even ___ bright as a full moon.
  • “Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) probably ___ become ___ brightest comet anyone alive ___ ever seen.”
  • Regardless, ___ coming year will likely see conspiracy theorists asserting that the comet is ___ a collision course ___ Earth
  • Ultimately, what Comet ISON will look ___ when it comes close depends ___ its composition.


Explore it more