Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ison display's the welcome green glow of Cyanogen gas

There has been a few photo's popping up showing Ison with a green coma (head).
Fear not! Green is a good sign, it shows Ison coma and tail is starting to expand as it gets closer to the Sun.

But what cause's this green glow? It is a gas known as Cyanogen gas which is being released as Ison gets with in reach of the Sun. Cyanogen is normally colourless but it fluoresces green in sunlight a bit like a neon sign. Cyanogen is not just pretty it also smells of almonds, and this might ring alarm bells with those who read murder mysteries! Cyanogen is from the same family as Cyanide and is a poisonous gas. On earth we have nothing to fear what so ever but, we would advise against astronauts removing their helmets and sniffing Ison though as this could only end badly!

Ison showing her green Cyangen coma. Photo taken with a 3 inch telescope on 28/09/2113 by Michael Jaeger

Most comet's contain Cyanogen gas, the most famous of which is Hally's comet. Back in 1910 shortly after discovering the presence of Cyangen in comets people started to worry about the gas. Con-men jumped on the opportunity to sell gas masks and all sorts of pill's and potions, of course all useless! As your reading this your ancestors obviously survived Hally's visit in 1910, and again in 1986 when Hally's comet made her second visit of the 20th century! Take comfort in the fact that NO ONE has ever been harmed by Cyangen or any other gas from a comet. We are looking forward to to the show though, we predict that Ison will only get brighter and greener from here on!



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