Did ISON, the so-called “comet of the century”, survive its encounter with the fireball?
If it has it’s in a much reduced state.
All the best equipment and technology in the world can’t find the 800 metre wide ball of rock and ice that approached the Sun.
Astronomers are downbeat. They suspect the comet burned up in its slingshot journey round the back of the star.
At one stage, some form of vapour trail was seen which brought speculation that at least part of the giant rock survived.
Astrophysicist Karl Battams said: “I do suspect that the comet has broken up but let’s give it a couple of more hours before we write the obituary.”
However, later as Battams prepared to turn in for the US night, he said: “We’ve been talking excitedly but it seems comet ISON hasn’t survived.”
Many expressed disappointment the comet has probably broken up.
However, scientists say it is cool and neat to see an Oort Cloud comet from the outer regions of the solar system graze the Sun.
NASA ran a Google hangout where most experts agree the comet is unlikely to have survived.
Astronomer Phil Plait, who runs the Bad Astronomy blog, says: “It’s not looking good for ISON in my opinion. I have a strong suspicion that ISON may be an ex-comet.”
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