Day of Reckoning: Comet ISON disappears in close pass around the Sun

November 28, 2013SPACE - A comet’s 5.5-million-year journey to the inner solar system apparently ended during a suicidal trip around the sun, leaving no trace of its once-bright tail or even remnants of rock and dust, scientists said on Thursday. The comet, known as ISON, was discovered last year when it was still far beyond Jupiter, raising the prospect of a spectacular naked-eye object by the time it graced Earth’s skies in December. Comet ISON passed just 730,000 miles (1.2 million km) from the surface of the sun at 1:37 p.m. EST/1837 GMT on Thursday. Astronomers used a fleet of solar telescopes to look for the comet after its slingshot around the sun, but to no avail. “I’m not seeing anything that emerged from the behind the solar disk. That could be the nail in the coffin,” astrophysicist Karl Battams, with the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, said during a live broadcast on NASA TV. “It’s sad that it seemed to have ended this way, but we’re going to learn more about this comet,” he added. At closest approach, the comet was moving faster than 217 miles per second(350 km per second) through the sun’s atmosphere. At that distance, it reached temperatures of 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit(2,760 degrees Celsius) – hot enough to vaporize not just ices in the comet’s body, but dust and rock as well.
If the comet or any large fragments survived the close encounter with the sun, they would be visible to the naked eye in Earth’s skies in a week or two. The comet was discovered last year by two amateur astronomers using Russia’s International Scientific Optical Network, or ISON. Comets are believed to be frozen remains left over from the formation of the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago. The family of comets that ISON belongs to resides in the Oort Cloud, located about 10,000 times farther away from the sun than Earth, halfway to the next star. Occasionally, an Oort Cloud comet is gravitationally nudged out of the cloud by a passing star and into a flight path that millions of years later brings it into the inner solar system. Computer models show ISON was a first-time visitor. “I hope we see another one soon,” said Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. –Reuters
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14 Responses to Day of Reckoning: Comet ISON disappears in close pass around the Sun

  1. novusanima says:

    Wow, man, to tell you the truth I’m really surprised to hear that!!

  2. Tatiacha says:

    and yet the SOHO image at spaceweather.com shows debris coming out the other side clearly…

  3. COMET ISON SURVIVES & ON PATH AMID DISINTEGRATION REPORTS! http://youtu.be/1k0oiRQCWB8

    Comet ISON Survives! http://youtu.be/6gfl9Gi3pxI

  4. TLindemann says:

    Just wait for a week or two. If the PTB still have their sights trained on this comet after its supposed self-annihilation, one should see it on the other side.

  5. Suzan says:

    I read on cnn
    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/11/28/sun-grazing-comet-ison-likely-broke-up-scientists-say/?cmpid=NL_fntop

    that an astronomer thinks comet ISON could have broken apart into pieces near the sun and we could study those pieces as they flip around the sun back towards us. I wonder since comet ISON was very large wouldn’t the broken pieces be very large as well. Will there be an increase in sonic booms or unidentified booms, fireballs or meteor showers?

    I also wonder if these large objects affect ocean tides, earthquakes and volcanoes?

    Thanks for all the important information and updates Alvin

  6. Irene C says:

    Comet ISON: Emerging ‘dust tail’ catches scientists’ eyes

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/27/us/ison-comet/index.html?hpt=hp_inthenews

    (CNN) — Something emerged from the sun after Comet ISON made its closest approach today. Is it the ISON?

    NASA scientists, professional and amateur astronomers are analyzing images from NASA satellites to learn more about comet’s fate.

    “We haven’t seen any definite nucleus yet,” said Padma Yanamandra-Fisher with the Space Science Institute and NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign.

    Members of the group’s Facebook page spotted what may be the remnants of ISON in satellite images soon after experts at NASA’s Google Hangout on ISON said it looked like the comet had broken up and melted into the sun.

    Comet watchers will have to wait until ISON, or what’s left of it, are a bit further from the sun to get more information.

  7. Dan says:

    Will ISON rise again?

    • scoot says:

      Never include ?PHPSESSID=i1acsbhc9js4ko5dv5n0taf0p2 in your link. If you were logged into something on that website I could simply click on that link and be logged in as you.

  8. leo says:

    ISON is still alive. She did it!

  9. Julie says:

    Ison did survive. Check YouTube. The tail has fanned out the main nucleus has been pushed back and it appears debris is leading it now. Bpearthwatch has been watching this thing since it first appeared. He said Nasa was having some kind of tv watching party and he figured they’d tell a bunch of lies. Looks like he was right. It’s really sad when you can’t trust any agency affiliated with the government.

  10. What’s going on with NASA?

    BUSTED! NASA FOOTAGE HOAX ON COMET ISON PERIHELION! http://youtu.be/cUFq_zOz37o

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