Comets: The Mysterious Voyagers
Deputy Director General
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Comet ISON, once expected to become a “comet of the century,” failed to survive when it approached the sun in late November 2013. But the images of its demise – the comet extending its long, bright tail as it approached the Sun – were very impressive. Such images were captured with a super-sensitive 4K camera system by astronaut Koichi Wakata, who is on a long-term mission on the International Space Station. But ISON was just one of four comets that were seen in the Earth’s sky in November. Dr. Junichi Watanabe, the Deputy Director General of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, talks about the fascination we have with comets.