ISONblog

  • November 29, 2013

    ISON: Not Dead Yet?

    by Tracy Vogel

    Something seems to have survived ISON's encounter with the Sun ... but the question is what?

    After fading in the sights of two NASA observatories and vanishing entirely from a third yesterday, astronomers speculated that ISON had met its demise. But then a faint smudge appeared in the images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). This could have been nothing more than a bit of leftover dust, but the fan-shaped feature didn't disperse, and began to brighten.

    Observers at NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign have more analysis, but the gist is that no one is sure yet what, if anything, survived perihelion. It could be a fragment of ISON's nucleus. It could be too small to last more than a couple of days. Or there's a chance that it might have enough mass to grow back a tail and eventually appear in Earth's night sky. 

    We'll have to wait and see.