Comet ISON Survives Pass by Sun

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Staff Writer | Intellihub | November 30, 2013

Will Comet ISON make a grand appearance for onlookers in December?

Image Credit: ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the sun. ISON was not visible during its closest approach to the sun, so many scientists thought it had disintegrated, but images like this one from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory suggest that a small nucleus may be intact. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/GSFC
Image Credit: ISON appears as a white smear heading up and away from the sun. ISON was not visible during its closest approach to the sun, so many scientists thought it had disintegrated, but images like this one from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory suggest that a small nucleus may be intact. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO/GSFC

 

(INTELLIHUB) — It looks as if Comet ISON may have partially survived its loop around the sun.

While it’s likely the comet diminished in size and brightness, it still may be visible in December to onlookers from earth. The exact trajectory it will take is unknown at this time as it rockets through space at 880,000 mph.

Karl Battams with the Naval Research Laboratory wrote, “As comet ISON plunged towards to the Sun, it began to fall apart, losing not giant fragments but at least a lot of reasonably sized chunks. There’s evidence of very large dust in the form of that long thin tail we saw in the LASCO C2 images. Then, as ISON plunged through the corona, it continued to fall apart and vaporize, and lost its coma and tail completely just like Lovejoy did in 2011. (We have our theories as to why it didn’t show up in the SDO images but that’s not our story to tell – the SDO team will do that.) Then, what emerged from the Sun was a small but perhaps somewhat coherent nucleus, that has resumed emitting dust and gas for at least the time being. In essence, the tail is growing back, as Lovejoy’s did.” [….]

“So while our theory certainly has holes, right now it does appear that a least some small fraction of ISON has remained in one piece and is actively releasing material. We have no idea how big this nucleus is, if there is indeed one. If there is a nucleus, it is still too soon to tell how long it will survive. If it does survive for more than a few days, it is too soon to tell if the comet will be visible in the night sky. If it is visible in the night sky, it is too soon to say how bright it will be”.[1]

 

Sources:

[1] Comet ISON Shows Signs Of Life After Close Encounter With Sun – RedOrbit.com

[2] Wait! Comet ISON May Live On – ABCNews.go

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