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Candlelight November 29 2013 12:06 AM

Comet ISON has been destroyed


Comet Ison was severely battered in its encounter with the Sun, and largely destroyed.
Telescopes saw the giant ball of ice and dust disappear behind the star, but only a dull streamer emerge.
Astronomers continued to search for the object, but it eventually became clear that the much vaunted "Comet of the Century" had gone out with a whimper.
Despite its great size, Ison was probably torn apart in the immense heat and tidal forces so close to the Sun.
The European Space Agency's experts on the Soho Sun-watching satellite called the death of the comet at about 21:30 GMT.
"Our Soho scientists have confirmed, Comet Ison is gone," Esa's twitter feed announced.
Shame. Was hoping for the same view we had with Comet McNaught in 2007.

trekkiedane November 29 2013 12:13 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
There's a video here:

Davros November 29 2013 01:06 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
I guess since it will now never be a danger to Earth I have to go with this being a good thing. [not that it would have hit us this time]

Timewalker November 29 2013 01:10 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed

Poor comet. I didn't get to see it due to snowstorms here.

Candlelight November 29 2013 02:38 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
It was too low on the horizon for us to see (not that it would be invisible, but we ALWAYS have a band of cloud on the horizon where we are).

Some people in Auckland got photos though.

Fatal Einstein November 29 2013 02:42 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
I was hoping for the end of the world. How disappointing, now I'll have to go to work on Monday.

Candlelight November 29 2013 08:51 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed


Comet Ison, or some part of it, may have survived its encounter with the Sun, say scientists.
The giant ball of ice and dust was initially declared dead when it failed to re-emerge from behind the star with the expected brightness.
All that could be seen was a dull smudge in telescope images - its nucleus and tail assumed destroyed.
But recent pictures have indicated a brightening of what may be a small fragment of the comet.
Astronomers admit to being surprised and delighted, but now caution that anything could happen in the coming hours and days.
This remnant of Ison could continue to brighten, or it could simply fizzle out altogether.
Karl Battams wrote on the Nasa Comet Ison Observing Campaign blog: "It does appear that at 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."
The European Space Agency, too, which had been among the first organisations to call the death of Ison, has had to re-assess the situation. A small part of the nucleus may be intact, its experts say.
How much of the once 2km-wide hunk of dirty ice could have survived is impossible to say.
Here's hoping.

rhubarbodendron November 29 2013 09:38 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
Cheer up, everyone! Ison only hid. NASA and ESA re-discovered it. Here is the first pic of it outside the corona:

source: [in German]

The trajectory didn't change much (see the video posted by trekkiedane) which indicates that there was no really significant loss of matter. Had it crumbled, the parts would now fly faster and in a much wider curve.*

And that a huge snowball sheds a few lbs when brushing something really hot was to be expected.

At any rate, those of us who haven't seen Ison yet get another chance in a few days, shortly before sunrise :)

* faster because E = (m*vē) : 2 and since E is a constant, the velovity must rise when the mass gets less.

And wider because in a light object the centripetal force would work less well than in a heavy one Fcent. = (m*vē) : r

(admittedly, that last formula is only an approximation. It is true only in very short time frames. But the basic tendency is the same and a single day is damned short in cosmic dimensions)

trekkiedane November 29 2013 08:07 PM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
Spaceweather has a new video up:

And then there is this:

rhubarbodendron December 2 2013 09:53 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
German science news claim that it suffered severe damage but that there must still be some pretty massive thing sticking in the gas/dust cloud. Interestingly, it does not shed much mass anymore (which means that most of its volatile matter must have gotten pulled away by the sun. I think we can assume that this was the ice and steam surrounding the comet and that what's left now is a solid stone core.)

The surrounding gas and dust is still too thick to look through it at the core. The leftovers of the comet will not be visible to the naked eye anymore (a pity!) and it's constantly getting darker but at least it still flies on.
I think technically it's now something between a comet and an asteroid.

Source: (in German)

Australis December 2 2013 01:45 PM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
Sorry, little dim, if we can see it, will it be in the morning or evening sky?

rhubarbodendron December 2 2013 07:37 PM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
Shortly before sunrise, if I am not completely mistaken.

Its current location is here:
(the time is set to NY (EST)) - if you PM me your precise location, I can send you the coordinates and times for your town

Australis December 3 2013 02:47 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
Close enough to Sydney, Australia, as to make no difference.

I remember when I was a kid seeing Comet Bennett in 1970, that was spectacular, a clear autumn moring in outback Australia. I want to relive that.

rhubarbodendron December 3 2013 09:52 AM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
here's the link for Sydney:

Do you have a decent telescope? The comet is only a mag 5.4 now and steadly fading.

Australis December 3 2013 12:59 PM

Re: Comet ISON has been destroyed
Thanks. No telescope, but I'll rub along.

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