Comet ISON Has Rounded The Sun But Its Fate Remains Unknown

Comet ISON — called by some the “comet of the century” made its way around the sun tonight, but we aren’t sure if it survived the trip or not. What happened to the chunk of rock and ice determines how bright it will be in the night sky during December.

If it survived intact, it would be visible with the naked eye. NASA researchers at the Solar Dynamics Observatory don’t think it did, though. It should have shown up where the white cross is in this image:

Sun without isonNASA/SDOThis image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the sun, but no Comet ISON was seen. A white plus sign shows where the Comet should have appeared. It is likely that the comet did not survive the trip.

Here’s a GIF of the comet making its way into the sun’s corona, you can see it flare up and dim as it rounds the sun. That makes the researchers at NASA think it has broken up, and probably won’t be visible in December:

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