Comet ISON doesn't survive close encounter with the sun

December 2, 2013

Comet ISON by D. PeachDespite the high hopes of scientists and stargazers around the world, Comet ISON did not survive its close encounter with the sun on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013. According to the December 2 post by Astrophysicist Karl Battams on the NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign site:


"We feared the worst as ISON plunged through the solar corona, and while our hopes were briefly raised when something emerged from behind the solid LASCO C2 occulting disk, it soon became apparent that ISON was no longer a healthy comet. Within a day or so following perihelion, our last last remaining hope began to fade as quickly as the comet itself, and by November 30, 2013, a ghostly cloud was all that appeared to remain of comet ISON. 


While it is conceivable that small chunks of ISON's nucleus still exist, that possibility looks increasingly unlikely and it is with more than a little sadness that we have to declare the comet lost."


Stay up-to-date on all things ISON here.

Read a locally-based story on the high hopes of Comet ISON, featuring faculty from the Geophysical Institute and the College of Natural Science and Mathematics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks here.


IMAGE CAPTION: Comet ISON in all its glory. Image courtesy of D. Peach, via NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign.