NASA Reports Comet ISON Likely Survived Pass by Sun

NASA Reports Comet ISON Likely Survived Pass by Sun

Early reports believed the comet had disintegrated, but the latest analysis suggests that at least a small part of the sun-grazing comet is still intact.

Continuing a pattern of surprising behavior, comet ISON appears to have survived its trip around the sun. NASA and other space agencies have tracked the sungrazer comet, named for an orbit that brought it just 730,000 miles from the sun, since September 2012. After reaching perihelion, the point in the orbit nearest the sun, at 1:37 p.m. ET on Thursday, astronomers watched to see if the comet's nucleus had survived the solar radiation and gravitational stresses. For four hours after perihelion, the comet was not visible to ground-based solar observatories or NASA's space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory. The European Space Agency (ESA) declared the comet dead on Twitter at 4:31 p.m. ET yesterday. A bright streak of material appeared later, and the trail continued to brighten, dissuading notions that it was simply the remnants of ISON's tail.NASA reported in the early hours of November 29 that "late-night analysis from scientists with NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign suggest that there is at least a small nucleus intact." The ESA gracefully retracted their Twitter obituary, tweeting, "Well well, seems reports of comet #ison's demise have been greatly exaggerated!"

The ESA's PROBA2 Science Center offers some possible reasons for the comet's apparent absence after perihelion. The PROBA2 satellite and extreme-ultraviolet telescope SWAP were pointed toward the comet to capture images of its passage by the sun, but were not able to see the comet. The ESA suggests that the comet may have not had the correct composition or may not have experienced enough heating from the sun's corona to be visible to SWAP.

The comet experienced a sudden increase in brightness, known as an "outburst", in mid-November. The outburst made the comet visible to the naked eye under perfect conditions. NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign suggested at the time that the increase in brightness may have signaled that the comet was beginning to break up, making its close brush with the sun more likely to cause it to disintegrate. Now that the comet appears to have survived, it is expect to pass within 40 million miles of Earth on December 26. Whether or not the comet will brighten further and become visible during daylight, as originally predicted, remains to be seen.

Source: NASA via CBC

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I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

Atary77:
I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

Well, it's obvious.

Clearly, it is actually a hyper advanced alien ship. Why did they pass so close to the sun?

Erm...to do alien shit. Yeah.

Doclector:

Atary77:
I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

Well, it's obvious.

Clearly, it is actually a hyper advanced alien ship. Why did they pass so close to the sun?

Erm...to do alien shit. Yeah.

And the interesting scientific aspect just got powerbombed into the dirt.

Well done. We wouldn't want the astronomy nerds to take over now would we.

Being a physics major I should probably care. But I just don't give a fuck about its survival.

Atary77:
I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

I'm thinking that the inherent velocity of the comet - Let's face it, they don't move at a snail's pace. - and overall density of its material make-up was such that it simply wasn't in the sun's sphere of influence long enough to melt away. Almost, but not quite. The rest of it lives to gather debris and skirt death with objects in space another day.

One day, in the distant future, one of its fragments will come to Earth and bludgeon the next dictator/Jesus Christ's confirmed reincarnation/The next Buddha/Mel Gibson to death.

Thank you for saving us from WW3/fucking us over completely, space comet.

So we going to get a coolio meteor shower or something? If so please do a followup :P hard for me to look into news on comets and not have it devolve into laughing at 'alienwatchers' on youtube for an hour.

One can only hope that it's not visible on Christmas, as you'll immediately have the nutjobs claim the Second Coming.

JokerboyJordan:
One can only hope that it's not visible on Christmas, as you'll immediately have the nutjobs claim the Second Coming.

Or that dragons will walk the Earth. Please let it be dragons!

Is it known how much survived?

Doclector:

Atary77:
I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

Well, it's obvious.

Clearly, it is actually a hyper advanced alien ship. Why did they pass so close to the sun?

Erm...to do alien shit. Yeah.

Obviously the ship is just refueling itself

JokerboyJordan:
One can only hope that it's not visible on Christmas, as you'll immediately have the nutjobs claim the Second Coming.

They're going to do that anyway.

Doclector:

Atary77:
I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

Well, it's obvious.

Clearly, it is actually a hyper advanced alien ship. Why did they pass so close to the sun?

Erm...to do alien shit. Yeah.

DEM ALIENS BE STEALIN' OUR PHOTONS! They've obviously made a pact with the Communists to swipe the photons that were meant to make America great!

The Rogue Wolf:

Doclector:

Atary77:
I just want to say, I'm glad the Escapist post stories like this. It's fascinating stuff!

I can't possibly imagine how that comet can continue to roam around the sun being that close without burning up into dust.

Well, it's obvious.

Clearly, it is actually a hyper advanced alien ship. Why did they pass so close to the sun?

Erm...to do alien shit. Yeah.

DEM ALIENS BE STEALIN' OUR PHOTONS! They've obviously made a pact with the Communists to swipe the photons that were meant to make America great!

Obviously it's a stargate seed ship.

 

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