Comet ISON is Really Done For This Time

 

Comet ISON Really Done For This Time

Comet ISON appears really done for this time. It was first reported to have been destroyed when it passed by the sun.  That information was apparently to some degree exaggerated, but it appears this time that the comet’s demise is the real thing.

Fragments of the object which had been called the “comet of the century” passed through the viewing scope located at the Solar Observatory in the wake of the comets nearby encounter with the Sun. After it passed by, the bright spot which had endured started to grow dim.

Kart Battams, which is an astronomer at the Naval Research Laboratory, stated that he believed something did emerge from the encounter with the Sun, but it was probably only a tiny part of the nucleus. He stated that he feared that piece now was also dissolved. Battams has been watching and studying Comet ISON for numerous months.

Comet ISON’s obituary had already been penned. It was written out on Thanksgiving Day, when a different satellite at another location, known as the Solar Dynamics Observatory, did not see any of the comet as it was scheduled to pass within 735,000 miles of Earth’s personal star.

It seemed that scientists were extremely quick to write off Comet ISON and claim it had been destroyed. However, a few hours later, the Solar Observatory picked up and recorded a spot that appeared to have a fan-shaped tail. It was going along the expected path of where Comet ISON was thought to orbit. The blur also began appearing in NASA satellite images.

Such images began to revive the hope of millions of sky watchers. They crossed their fingers hoping they might be able to see at least a twinkle of ISON even as early as the beginning of this month. However, the waning glow suggested that the comet has now become little more than a dissolving cloud of intergalactic dust blowing in the planetary wind. Battams projected that the spot’s brightness was about a magnitude +5 and was going out very quickly. If that tendency continues, Comet ISON’s fragments will not be visible to most anyone on Earth ever again.

Battams explained that knowledgeable astro-photographers could possibly be able to take a picture of Comet ISON’s remains within a few days, when the object has moved even farther from the Sun and its intense glare. Everyone else are out of luck, although there is always that chance the comet will pull off another one of its amazing stunts.

Comet ISON might have been a major frustration for all casual sky watchers, but any information which was collected during the comet’s voyage should end up being a jackpot for astronomers. Back when the comet was first discovered in Sept. of 2012, scientists realized that they would have a distinct chance to watch an unspoiled comet arrive from the very outer edge of the solar system and end up making its first, and obviously last, trip around the Sun.

Battams added that over the past year scientists had gathered what was believed to be the biggest information database on one single comet in history. It came from probably the most effective corresponding comet campaign known to history. He also said that such documents will tell a lot, but going through all the information is going to take a very long time. Battams explained how Comet ISON had caused the astronomy world to have had a crazy year, more wild past couple of months and a few truly insane past few days. Yet with everything that has been gleamed from Comet ISON, it should be worth all the craziness.

It appears that Comet ISON really is done for this time.

By Kimberly Ruble

NPR News

Slate News

NBC News

 

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