There are numerous reports the Comet ISON may have survived. 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. We hope for the best.
NASA / ESA / SOHO / Emily Lakdawalla ISON rounds the Sun as seen from SOHO LASCO C2 (Nov 28-29, 2013)
This animation contains 88 images captured by the SOHO spacecraft from November 28 at 00:22 to November 29 at 00:13 UTC.
Most of you have already found out by now that Comet ISON did not survive its encounter with the sun. ISON fizzled out during its swing around the sun, leaving behind what scientists said was a trail of dust that continued rolling through space.
Over the past few days, ISON’s condition had sparked waves of up-and-down speculation: Was it brightening? Fading? Resurging? On Thursday morning, astronomers saw clear signs that the sungrazing comet was getting dimmer as it headed toward peak heating, at an expected minimum distance of 730,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) and maximum velocity of 850,000 mph (380 kilometers per second).
That suggested that ISON’s nucleus, estimated to have a radius of roughly a kilometer (half a mile), was rapidly shedding ice and dust to feed its multimillion-mile-long tail. Scientists hoped there would still be something left after its closest approach to the sun, known as perihelion — but nothing was detected by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
“I’d like to know what happened to our half a mile of material that was going around the sun,” SDO project scientist W. Dean Pesnell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said during Thursday’s Hangout. “Now it’s broken up, and I didn’t see anything.”
It was an inglorious and inconclusive end for a “dirty snowball” that scientists say was a fossil relic of the solar system’s formation 4.5 billion years ago. ISON spent much of that time on the solar system’s farthest reaches, in a haze of comets known as the Oort Cloud. A passing star probably perturbed the comet’s orbit enough to send it on a 5.5 million-year journey toward the sun. (NBC News)
More updates later.
Comet ISON is plunging toward the sun for a perilous close encounter on November 28th. Even the experts aren’t sure if the comet can survive its passage through the solar atmosphere on Thanksgiving Day. The pictures being posted are amazing.
Taken by Juan Carlos Casado on November 21, 2013 @ Teide Observatory, Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
This inforgraph shows where to find Comet ISON during the next couple of months. It is one of the best visualizions of where Comet ISON will be in the sky during November, December and January that I have seen.
(Infographic courtesy of the Huffington Post)
Right now, ISON is about 45 million miles from the Sun, already closer to the Sun than Venus. The Emory University of Physics Department has a cool real-time ISON calculator which shows you how far it is from the Sun and Earth It’s currently moving at about 38 miles/sec, and that speed will increase to 230 miles/sec when it skims the surface of the Sun on November 28th.
Comet ISON is now visible to the naked eye according to reports from many observers. The best chance to see the comet is in the early morning just before twilight low in the east-southeast horizon.
NASA provides three scenarios on what happens next with Comet ISON:
- Spontaneous Disintegration before Thanksgiving
- Death by Sunburn around Thanksgiving Day or
I’m rooting for option #3!
There have been confirmed sightings of Comet ISON with binoculars. Comet ISON is cruising through the constellation Virgo at the moment and is visible with binoculars low in the predawn eastern sky, Spaceweather.com reports. Comet ISON is currently as bright as an 8th magnitude star — too dim to be seen with the naked eye but easy to spot with binoculars or a small telescope.
http://www.solarsystemscope.com/ison/ provides a virtual 3-D model of Comet ISON. Check it out!
Will ISON Survive the Sun Approach?
The close approach of comet ISON to the Sun this November is unlikely to spell the end of the comet, according to a study performed by scientists at the Lowell Observatory and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). http://www.swri.org/9what/releases/2013/ison.htm#.UmFwEPMo6Ul
How Big is Comet ISON?
One question scientists have been attempting to answer is how big is comet ISON. Recent studies presented at the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences meeting indicated that the nucleus measured somewhere between 1 to 4 km across. This too is good news that ISON may not disintegrate from the sungrazing pass at the end of November.
Information about Comet ISON is starting to reach more of a peak in the coming weeks as it approaches the sun. Slate Magazine has an excellent article on speculation if ISON will survive an encounter with the sun.