Skip to comments.Hubble Telescope best shot at learning comet fate
Posted on 12/04/2013 11:01:35 AM PST by Red Badger
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
It's all up to Hubble.
NASA said Monday that the Hubble Space Telescope is the best bet for figuring out whether Comet ISON disintegrated during its brush with the sun last week.
A pair of solar observatories saw something emerge from around the sun following ISON's close approach on Thanksgiving Day. But scientists don't know whether the spot of light was merely the comet's shattered remains or what's left of its icy nucleus. Either way, by now, they say it may be just dust.
Over the coming week or two, scientists will keep a lookout for any brightening, which could indicate what, if anything is left. Hubble should put the matter to rest in mid-December, when the comet's remains are far enough from the sun for safe viewing.
As for us earthlings, there appears to be little chance of spotting what's left of the comet with the naked eye. Whatever is left will pass closest to Earth on Dec. 26; it will keep a safe 40 million miles away.
ISON was making its first visit to the inner solar system, after traveling from the Oort cloud on the fringes of the solar system, home to countless icy bodies, most notably the frozen balls of dust and gas in orbit around the sun known as comets
It was discovered by Russian astronomers last year and, early on, was predicted to become the comet of the century because of its brightness. Indeed, ISON would have wowed observers if it had survived the sun's fury.
NASA turned all its space eyes on the sun-grazing comet throughout the year, watching as ISON advanced ever closer. Even scientists were left wondering whether the comet would survive its encounter with the sun from just 730,000 miles out.
In an online blog, the Naval Research Laboratory's Karl Battams paid tribute Monday to ISON and suggested that donations be made to astronomy clubs, observatories or charities supporting science and math education for children.
"Never one to follow convention, ISON lived a dynamic and unpredictable life, alternating between periods of quiet reflection and violent outburst," Battams, an astrophysicist, wrote. "Comet ISON leaves behind an unprecedented l
Cruising through the suns upper atmosphere can be hazardous to your health (even if you are a 3 mile wide comet)....
Sounds from the scientists in the article that chances are good she’s a goner.
The Enterprise did it lots of times..................
There will still be debris traveling along the same trajectory for millenia. That would make for some good to excellent meteor showers when the Earth crosses their path................
Did you happen to see the cool hour special on Nova awhile back about ISON? The only reason I know anything about it.
This was taken today by the crew on the space station...
ISON looks quite the comet on this shot.
Yeah, but with dylithium crystals.Sooooo
But they were always on the edge of blowing up!................
My Gosh! You figured out what happened to the comet! It made the loop around the sun ala Star Trek IV and got sent back in time, that why it appears to just be a fading blur as it passes the sun.
So many astrophysicists that aren't completely left-brained have such a way with language, music, and the arts. That's sure an interesting way to describe a comet. :-)
More power, Scotty!!!
LOL, that's no "dead" comet!
Thanks Red Badger, a nice extra to APoD.
What a photo. Thanks. I know it’s from a previous posting, but I didn’t copy that so thanks to that poster also.
See, global warming is real, look what it did to the poor comet ISON. We need to tax the leading nations to find a solution and in the spirit of human altruism, I’ll volunteer to manage the money and my charity will be called, “The Human Fund.”
Whenever my liberal relatives start spouting global warming nonsense I just reply that in about 4 billion years the Sun will become a red giant and totally destroy everything on the earth, right down to the rocks themselves. Then they just have this fish look..................