Last night Comet ISON’s 4 billion year life nearly came to a swift end! The giant ball of ice and dust was initially declared dead by SOHO scientists when the comet failed to reemerge from behind the star after the expected time. The scientists could only see a dull smudge in space telescope images, this led scientists to believe that its nucleus and tail had been destroyed.
However recent pictures have indicated that the comet (or what’s left of it) may be brightening.
Karl Battams (who operates the US space agency-funded Sungrazing Comets project) said to BBC News that “This comet has confused and amazed us right from the word go” he also added: “We’ve been following this comet for a year now and all the way it has been suprising and confusing us”
This remnant of Ison could continue to brighten or it could fizzle out totally. The European Space Agency (ESA) was one of the first organisations to announce the death of the comet but later had to re-asses the situation as a part of the comet materialized out of the Sun. Although how much of the once 2km wide comet still remains to be seen.
The Comet passed just 1.2 million km above the surface of the Sun, which would have severely disrupted Ison, also the Sun’s immense gravity would have pulled and manipulated the comet.
Whatever happens to Comet Ison,it’s safe to say that it will be a big news story. If the Comet does survive then in the UK the Comet may be visible next week.