Comet ISON Still in One Piece

Comet ISON still in one piece

The latest photographs taken of comet ISON, which were snapped by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, are showing that the comet which has been labeled the “Christmas comet” is still in one piece. But it is still fact that ISON’s nearest approach by the sun is still over a month away and is slated for November 28. It is definitely a question of whether ISON will in the long run endure or will its nucleus ultimately break down when faced with the heat?

But whatever happens with ISON, if it collapses or not, all the population of Earth will be completely fine, astronomers have said. During a comet’s breakup, its fragments do not sail away in all kinds of different directions. It is not like some sort of movie explosion, explains a press release put out by the space agency’s Hubble scientists. The pieces do come apart but continue to travel along a path that is parallel to the way the larger part they broke away from is going. So any parts will stay far away from the earth, at least millions of kilometers away. The movie versions are always exciting to watch to is hardly ever the way it truly happens in space.

NASA has explained that ISON’s dense nucleus is unclear because it is so small. They are not sure how long it will take for it to burn up. The space agency believes that if the nucleus broke, the Hubble space telescope would have probably been able to detect evidence of numerous fragment pieces, and that has not happened yet.

The comet’s coma is appearing to be a greenish-blue because of air and gaseous vapors, while its tail is a reddish-brown because of the dust that is blowing off the nucleus itself. The tail becomes larger and larger as particles of dust are pushed away from the nucleus by the sunlight’s pressure bearing down on the comet.

Comet ISON still in one piece

Numerous astronomers are calling ISON the “comet of century”, but an article released to the public that was written back at the end of September stated that ISON’s future was very much unknown and that everyone should not be getting so excited. The author, who preferred to remain anonymous said he or she felt the comet’s life was very much still in the air and for others not to get excited. They also wrote about how even though ISON might produce an outstanding cosmic fireworks display, it most likely would be a giant wash-out and everyone would be disappointed.

Since the person chose to remain unnamed, their article did not get much attention except for scorn and put-downs. It was soon removed from the website in which it had been put on.

Astronomers are calling ISON the “Christmas comet” because it will make its nearest approach to Earth on Dec. 28. On that day ISON will travel within 39.9 million miles of our planet if it has survived its November pass by the sun, it should be a beautiful view in the cold winter sky as long as comet ISON is still in one piece .

Written by: Kimberly Ruble


Earth and Sky

USA Today


3 Responses to Comet ISON Still in One Piece

  1. Harald Gegenfurtner November 28, 2013 at 9:34 am

    The upper foto in this article doesn’t show comet ISON, but the famous giant comet Hale-Bopp from 1997.


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