Everyone knows that while the night sky is black between the stars and planets, it is anything but empty. Throughout our universe, space is filled with all sorts of objects – comets, meteoroids, asteroids and a variety of debris. Ever since man has made its first exploration into space, scientists have been studying the debris found there. Scientists have also made a habit of naming items they’ve found, comets, stars, and even some of those asteroids. Studies have shown a variety of interesting fact that have helped us learn something about our own planet and our solar system.
Have you heard of ISON? If you haven’t, perhaps you haven’t been keeping your eyes upon the stars. ISON is the name given to the comet to have most recently entered our inner solar system. It hails from our solar system’s Oort cloud, a vast mass of bodies that have come together to form…well, basically a big cloud at the edge of our solar system. It’s so far away (4.6 trillion miles, give or take), that passing stars can actually change the orbits of the objects within the cloud. ISON was one of these objects.
ISON was discovered back in September of 2012 by the International Scientific Optical Network – hence the comets nickname, ‘ISON’ – a Russian observatory. While it’s discovery was fairly recent, it’s journey toward the sun has already lasted a million years or so according to scientists. But why get so worked up about a comet that’s actually smaller than most we come across?
The furlough that occurred in October affected hundreds of thousands of employees. Some were directly employed by the federal government while others (including my husband) were contractors who also found themselves out of work for two weeks. However, while the world below bickered and bantered and dealt with a government shut down, certain government employees were barely affected, including those who orbit above the earth.