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How Much of ISON Survived Its Closest Approach To the Sun?

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the a-thousand-little-pieces dept.

Space 84

SternisheFan writes "This Ars Technica article examines what may be left of ISON and contains a detailed animated GIF from the NASA STEREO Ahead spacecraft. 'It looks like comet ISON, or most of it, did not survive its encounter with the Sun yesterday, when it made a close approach at just 1.2 million kms from that fiery surface. This distance may seem large, but it is close enough to have subjected the comet to temperatures of around 2,700C. To survive such a close shave with the Sun may sound unlikely, but a few other sungrazing comets have managed the feat during even closer passes. So some people hoped ISON would perform a death-defying stunt and emerge intact. ISON did not leave us without a final serving of mystery though. Soon after reaching its nearest point to the Sun (known as perihelion), there was no sign of it emerging afterwards. Twitter and news agencies were alight, lamenting its loss and assuming it disintegrated—RIP ISON. But then, moments later, new images emerged showing a hint of something appearing on the other side of the Sun. Was this still a diminished comet ISON or a ghostly version of its former self? Well, even comet experts are not sure.'"

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More than enough to masterbate to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571495)

And yes, I masterbate to space objects. And to the potential readers of this post

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (-1, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#45571589)

Well, comets do shoot out Space Jizz. They get off on Miss Sun, and the closer they get to her, the more they jizz.

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45571635)

sorry, but in most the major religions that have Sun as a diety ( Ancient Egyptian, Aztec, Roman, Greek, Chinese, Bhuddist) , he's a dude. Your comets swing "the other way".

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571875)

I swing the other for your moms cock. Pounding her ass while while her balls swing back and fouth. If she is nice, I'll suck her clit and dick afterwards.

Someone must have forgotten to tell me ... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45572031)

In most the major religions that have Sun as a diety ( Ancient Egyptian, Aztec, Roman, Greek, Chinese, Bhuddist)

I may be an American citizen but I am still a Chinese, by ethnicity.

Someone must have forgotten to tell me that the Sun is a diety.

Re:Someone must have forgotten to tell me ... (3, Funny)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45572075)

Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun in Chinese mythology is "Grandfather Sun"

You should survey the Chinese ... (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45572181)

Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun in Chinese mythology is "Grandfather Sun"

Why don't you go ask 100 Chinese and see how many of them ever heard of that "Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun" ?

That character is one of the many many "minor characters" inside the Chinese fiction "Tale of the Monkey God"

Even the "Niu Mo Wang" (the Buffalo King), another character from the same tome, is more "famous" than that "Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun" and yet, nobody, at least none of the Chinese that I know of, pray to that "Buffalo King".

Re:You should survey the Chinese ... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45572233)

my in-laws are chinese, so I have resident reference at home 8D

Some Chinese people from other asian countries outside China are more into the old myths. They don't worship these characters, but some know the mythologies. The Grandfather Sun (also called Taiyang Shen) is in Mahayana Bhuddist and Taoist texts too.

Re:You should survey the Chinese ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572295)

If your Chinese in-laws do not pray to that "grandfather sun" then it's not a diety, at least not to them.

It is like "Zeus" or "Apollo".

"Zeus" and/or "Apollo" are "dieties" to the believers. To you and I, "Zeus" and "Apollo" are but characters from the ancient Greek legends.

Your original comment allude to that the Chinese treat the Sun as a "deity", to which I already pointed out to you that it is patently false, because no Chinese, at least none of the Chinese (including me, including your Chinese in-laws) pray to the Sun.

Re:You should survey the Chinese ... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45572347)

A Taoist might indeed worship the Sun Grandfather, they have rituals for doing so in their writings. And that minor deity appears in (Mahayana) Bhuddist writings, he's a part of that religion whether average Bhuddist remembers him or not. So he's a part of Chinese religions, even if you had to look up his name

Please make up your mind, dude ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572507)

Dude, please make up your mind...

You first claimed that the Chinese worship the sun deity

... major religions that have Sun as a diety ( Ancient Egyptian, Aztec, Roman, Greek, Chinese ...

but now you change your tone in saying that it's the Taoists who worship the "sun deity"

A Taoist might indeed worship the Sun Grandfather, they have rituals for doing so in their writings

I know that your in-laws are of the ethnic Chinese, but you just can't throw around and mixing up words like "CHINESE" with " Taoists " because they are NOT THE SAME !

As I have repeatedly said to you, I, an ethnic Chinese, and many MORE Chinese that I know of, do not worship the Sun.

Even you have admitted that your Chinese in-laws do not worship the Sun.

Plus, the term "Taoist" can NOT, and should NEVER be used to replace "Chinese", as there are a lot of "Taoists" that are NOT ethnic Chinese.

There are a lot of Taoists in both Vietnam and Thailand, and they are NOT ethnic Chinese !

It is as if I equate "White" to "Christians" or "Indians" to "Hindus".

What you are doing is totally fallacious !

One does not equate the other.

Let me say this again --- there are some who are Taoists, but the vast majority of the ethnic Chinese in this world are NOT Taoists.

Plus, there are non-ethnic Chinese who subscribe to the Taoist religion, including those from Thailand and from Vietnam.

Make up your mind, dude.

If you want to say the Taoists worshipping the "sun deity", go right ahead. You have no argument from me.

Just don't mis-use "Chinese" any way you feel like it.

Capisce ??

Re: Please make up your mind, dude ! (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#45573043)

It of course referred to ancient chinese people. The Chinese have been around for thousands of years, the beliefs of modern chinese are irrelevant. China is also a very big area in Asia with many different peoples. In any case I wouldn't expect any modern chinese to still be burdened by religion today, especially polytheist ones.

Re:Please make up your mind, dude ! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45579029)

your reading comprehension skills are lacking, I only said they had this character as a "deity", which can and does include very very minor ones, and which does not even imply worship, just that they're on a list in someone's religion as being a deity. Aside from most Chinese probably being atheists, of the ones that have a religion most would be Mahaya Bhuddhists, and THAT religion does have the Grandfather Sun on the list of (very minor) deities. QED, you lose.

Re:You should survey the Chinese ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572311)

Why don't you go ask 100 Chinese and see how many of them ever heard of that "Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun" ?

Are you saying that there's a more popular, female solar deity the Chinese are familiar with? If not, then it's not a counter-argument to the parent, it just points out that ignorance of history is just as common in China as it is pretty much everywhere else.

Re:You should survey the Chinese ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45574027)

Why don't you go ask 100 Chinese and see how many of them ever heard of that "Ri Gong Tai Yang Xing Jun" ?

More than americans I would wager, which, considering the amount of those chiming in here would not be a bad score at all. GP was not refering to major religions, or will known religions, but to "major religions that have Sun as a diety". Leaving this one out would have been a clear omission.

In my country, less than 20% of the people actually believe a christian God exists, it is by all means a minority religion, but leaving out christianity when discussing theistic religions certainly wouldn't lead to many people taking you serious.

Re:Someone must have forgotten to tell me ... (1)

asifyoucare (302582) | about a year ago | (#45572331)

Any relation to Tikki Tikki Tembo?

Re:Someone must have forgotten to tell me ... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45585123)

he's adopted!

Re:Someone must have forgotten to tell me ... (1)

steelfood (895457) | about a year ago | (#45574319)

I heard his grandson's book on how to make war is real popular these days.

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

Eevee (535658) | about a year ago | (#45572259)

Well, in Japanese mythology, the sun deity [wikipedia.org] is most definitely a gal.

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45572781)

Buddhists don't worship gods ...

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45576607)

He didn't say anything about worship, and devas are frequently translated as deities. There is even one specific to the sun or sunlight, although in some he is a bodhisattva instead of deva.

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45579107)

yes hundreds of millions of Buddhists do just that. In many Bhuddist countries other gods are rolled into the religion. Many have ancestor whorship. Many revere and pray to the Bhudda himself as a god. Many revere the Dalai Lama as a deity, and to oversimplify his teachings one could say he is telling people how they can become a "god"

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about a year ago | (#45582093)

The concept of a god is in Buddism completely different than we name a god. It is only lack for a proper name that we call them gods. Most of them are as you correctly say mixed in from other religions. Most buddhists I know would call themselves atheists, as buddism is for them more a path for personal development than a religion.

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year ago | (#45585027)

you could say that for various sects of any religion including Christianity, different views of "god" ranging from just a concept to a "helpful sprite" to big meanie who has already predestinated some to burn in hell

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (1)

TheMattRay (1603499) | about a year ago | (#45574229)

sorry, but in most the major religions that have Sun as a diety ( Ancient Egyptian, Aztec, Roman, Greek, Chinese, Bhuddist) , he's a dude. Your comets swing "the other way".

Ah, yes. The ancient religion of "Chinese"...

Re:More than enough to masterbate to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45579753)

so why don't you complain of the ancient religion of "Greek" or the ancient religion of "Roman"?

Ars (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571501)

Good thing I already read this at Ars. I usually go there first.

Ewww, nothing left but (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#45571545)

...comet brains

Watch for the Fan shaped tail (4, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#45571547)

Re:Watch for the Fan shaped tail (1)

pr0t0 (216378) | about a year ago | (#45575321)

After watching several animated gif's of the event (like this one: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/12/comet-ison-fizzles-but-theres-a-sting-in-the-tail/ [arstechnica.com] ), I'm left a little perplexed. I was under the impression that as a comet approaches the Sun, the heat causes outgassing and evaporation, and the tail forms as the solar wind blows that away from the comet. Accordingly, I thought a comet's tail roughly always pointed away from the sun with maybe a slight curve due to momentum. But the gif's I'm seeing don't show that. I know the comet is speeding up as it approaches the Sun, and certain gains a slingshot effect as it whips around, but I didn't think that speed would overcome the solar wind.

Can anyone explain why the tail is still pointing in opposition to the direction of movement like jet exhaust?

Re:Watch for the Fan shaped tail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45575519)

It's still in the process of outgassing.

Re:Watch for the Fan shaped tail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45576277)

After watching several animated gif's of the event (like this one: http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/12/comet-ison-fizzles-but-theres-a-sting-in-the-tail/ [arstechnica.com] ), I'm left a little perplexed. I was under the impression that as a comet approaches the Sun, the heat causes outgassing and evaporation, and the tail forms as the solar wind blows that away from the comet. Accordingly, I thought a comet's tail roughly always pointed away from the sun with maybe a slight curve due to momentum. But the gif's I'm seeing don't show that. I know the comet is speeding up as it approaches the Sun, and certain gains a slingshot effect as it whips around, but I didn't think that speed would overcome the solar wind.

Can anyone explain why the tail is still pointing in opposition to the direction of movement like jet exhaust?

The icy core of the comet was pulled in towards the sun by the sun's gravity, any icy outgassing is not the core's propellant. Since the core is moving faster than the outgassing the tail will not catch up to it.

Re:Watch for the Fan shaped tail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45576705)

certain gains a slingshot effect as it whips around, but I didn't think that speed would overcome the solar wind.

The peak speed of ISON was about 370 km/s, while the typical speed of one part of the solar wind is about ~400 km/s with considerable variation.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571575)

is there any chance of it coming around and hitting us?

Re:So... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571651)

The sun is actually only the small white circle in the middle of the shade. And SOHO is only 1.5M kilometers away from Earth so the sun can’t be much larger from SOHO’s position.

The reason for why the comet appears to be so huge is the massive coma around the core as well as the tail originating from the core and scattering like a bowwave from a ship it extends and expands the further away it is from the source. The sudden seemingly increase in size of the tail when ISON re-appears above the sun comes from the sudden change of direction and the new direction how the ejected material is forced away from the core by the solar wind.

Most comets have a nucleus (the center of a comet) that is less than about 6 miles (10 km) wide. The size of a comet changes depending on how close it is to the sun. As a comet gets closer to the sun, the ices on the surface of its nucleus vaporize and form a cloud called a coma around the nucleus that can expand out to 50,000 miles (80,000 km). A tail also forms on a comet as it approaches the sun. Comet tails can be over 600,000 miles (1 million km) long.

An awesome gif indeed. A little closer to home is ....

http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/12/image-of-the-day-a-spectacular-meteor-streaking-through-the-aurora-borealis.html [dailygalaxy.com]

Re:So... (2)

GloomE (695185) | about a year ago | (#45571699)

Only if you mess with it's sister.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571805)

Could go either way... Either it will, or it won't.

I'd say about a 50% chance.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571859)

Voothole jacksons!

Maybe they should look for it (4, Funny)

Brad1138 (590148) | about a year ago | (#45571621)

in 1986...

Re:Maybe they should look for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571681)

No one should look for anything in 1986. Ever. Let's just forget that year ever happened.

Re:Maybe they should look for it (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#45571873)

Or 1947, in Roswell, NM. Something involving a microwave oven and a supernova.

Re:Maybe they should look for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572437)

What smells like blue?

Re:Maybe they should look for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45573155)

You know, you really don't cook enough roasts, Leela.

Re:Maybe they should look for it (1)

arth1 (260657) | about a year ago | (#45572027)

March, 1997.
Do you have your $5.75 and Nikes, and are ready to catch the outbound flight?

Them darn dirty snowballs... (2)

DrPBacon (3044515) | about a year ago | (#45571631)

It's like they has their own 'snow physics' or somethin'.

No Hale Bopp "Koolaide" rerun? Rats! (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#45571707)

So many idiots, so few comets.

Comet of the Century! Visible in broad daylight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571711)

haha suckers

i-Phone, i-Pad (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a year ago | (#45571713)

ok. i'm down. i-Son.

Re:i-Phone, i-Pad (3, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#45572125)

iSon may have survived a close encounter with the intense heat of the Sun . . . but it won't survive the intense heat of Apple's IP lawyers.

Dumb question, but...? (2)

Gwala (309968) | about a year ago | (#45571721)

Probably a stupid question - but wouldn't the steam/plasma presumably have the same orbit as the original solid mass; similarly presumably wouldn't the solar wind blow the mass away fairly evenly - meaning in a long long time, it'll cool, condense and potentially (slowly) pull itself back together?

Re:Dumb question, but...? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571817)

no, liquidus would make it spread out and become "atmosphere" of the sun. Also there is no cooler masses lying around for it to give it's heat to, so no to the 2nd question.

Re:Dumb question, but...? (1)

PlusFiveTroll (754249) | about a year ago | (#45571827)

I would think the suns magnetosphere would redirect any plasma, and possibly water steam would be effected by it too.

No, and no (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571845)

The ejected material could come off at a significant velocity, so it wouldn't have quite the same orbit.
Solar wind (and light pressure) have more effect on small particles than large ones, since they act based on surface area (r^2) against mass (r^3). This is why the solar wind can sweep dust out of the solar system, but not planets.
There is also drag from the corona to consider. The comet effectively did an air dip.
TL;DR Any lost material was either blown out into space, or fell into the sun. Either way, this comet will not 'pull itself back together'

Define survived (0)

rossdee (243626) | about a year ago | (#45571739)

Define survived

Its not like it was alive or anything

Most of the non ice stuff will still be in pretty much the same orbit

Re:Define survived (2)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#45572003)

Remained intact and still moving

NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571799)

NASA got caught lying and photoshopping 'official' photos and video [youtube.com] again.

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571889)

Truth is, the comet is completely in tact and is now heading straight for Earth. Luckily we've been training for this scenario for 15+ years as we saw in that Armageddon documentary. I just hope the team has learned from that Deep-water Horizon training accident that NASA blamed on BP!

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571891)

ROFL dumbass doesn't realize that the cam he's looking (the one that doesn't show comet ISON) only show's extreme uv ranges. It's GOT to be a conspiracy that a space snowball doesn't radiate uv in such a way as to be completely overwhelmed by the sun. That's the only feasible and reasonable explanation.

Dumbass.

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571905)

Hah I guess I'm a dumbas's two for misyousing an apostrophe =) IT'S A CONSPIRACY I TELL YA! That snowball should be radiating uv WAY more than the sun I say!

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45573779)

I see NASA's anonymous public relation/damage control team is at work again.

You and the morons above you are complete retards, all of you, comet still show up on extreme UV cameras.

Proof:
This sequence of images, gathered by an extreme UV telescope onboard NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, shows Comet Lovejoy's tail wiggling wildly in transit through the solar corona. [sott.net]

So mr fucking genius, why the fuck wasn't ISON shown in NASA's video?

Now shut the fuck up. NASA doctored the video.

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572329)

NASA got caught lying and photoshopping 'official' photos

I guess I'll start getting upset when I suddenly develop the ability to see in the UV spectrum.
In case you can't get past the snark, here's a hint- it's not a visible light spectrum camera, and it doesn't "take pictures" in the manner you seem to think it does. If you're that paranoid, go download the raw data output and build your own image. Then we can watch a bunch of high-school dropouts feel smug as they call you out for your 'shopped pixels.

idiot

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45573739)

I see NASA's anonymous public relation/damage control team is at work again.

You and the morons above you are complete retards, all of you, comet still show up on UV cameras.

Proof:
This sequence of images, gathered by an extreme UV telescope onboard NASA's STEREO-B spacecraft, shows Comet Lovejoy's tail wiggling wildly in transit through the solar corona. [sott.net]

Now shut the fuck up.

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45576831)

NASA's PR would be perfectly capable of making some pseudo-anonymous screen name if that is the only thing you can use to call them out. I'm guessing it wouldn't change your opinion though, and you would just move the goal posts.

Posting anonymously because of my employer, which is neither NASA nor because I was directly involved in that image, but because some of us don't want co-workers or boss calling us out for wasting time pointing out idiots on the internet.

Speaking of posting anonymously to hide things, why don't you have an account?

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45580583)

What fucking goal post, you retards claimed comet doesn't show up on extreme UV cameras, I just proved you wrong.

Fucking idiots.

Re:NASA got caught lying again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572453)

Oh no! IT'S THE BLACK KNIGHT UFO ALL OVER AGAIN! Although I do have a question: it's meant to be a 13,000 year old UFO. How do we know its age? We didn't cut it open and count the rings.

2700 degC? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#45571807)

How do they define temperature? The show happens in vacuum, there is no thermal agitation. Inside the comet this is another story, but are we able to measure the internal temperature?

Re:2700 degC? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#45571987)

How do they define temperature? The show happens in vacuum, there is no thermal agitation.

Not quite vacuum but even if it would be so: black-body radiation [wikipedia.org] is a measure of temperature for radiative-only cases.

Re:2700 degC? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year ago | (#45572199)

Is black body radiation reliable for something that is breaking up, with chunks turned into vapor? And I understood the comet wen hidden by the mask protecting the observing tools from direct sun light...

Re:2700 degC? (4, Informative)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#45572517)

Look, you asked how to define the temperature in vacuum and I answered
Put in a good number of assumptions and, based on them, one (with enough skill in the craft) will be able to estimate [wikipedia.org] the internal temperature.
Of course it will still be an estimate and nothing more (one doesn't need to ask, it's only natural that precise data could be obtained only if you have unambigous direct observation of the phenomenon - and not even then)

Other than that, yes, the black-body radiation is correct for all macroscopic bodies (be them in one piece or crumbling) - the only requirements are: that body to expose a surface, be made of enough particles [wikipedia.org] to display a statistical behavior and be at thermal equilibrium.
There was this guy, Plank [wikipedia.org] , that put his name at stake on the correctness of it: to date, nobody ashamed him (his initial estimation of the constant was within 1.2% of the more precise value we accept today, which is quite remarcable IMHO)

Re:2700 degC? (1)

Kentari (1265084) | about a year ago | (#45573811)

I believe this is the estimated surface temperature on the sunlit side of the comet's nucleus. Just like the surface of the Moon and Mercury have a temperature of 390K and 670K despite not having a significant atmosphere.

Re:2700 degC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45577345)

While this is probably in reference to the surface temperature or of near the surface of the comet, the area around the comet and entire solar system is far from a perfect vacuum and has quite a lot of stuff within it to define a temperature. If anything, you would have more trouble defining the temperature not for lack of stuff, but due to it not being in thermal equilibrium and sometimes have to talk about temperature of different sub-populations of the interplanetary and interstellar media.

Why it's named ISON (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45571819)

It Still Outshines Nothing

Really, really hot (3, Informative)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#45571863)

Moments later, new images emerged showing a hint of something appearing on the other side of the Sun. Was this still a diminished comet ISON or a ghostly version of its former self.

What emerged from the other side was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

JSON? (1, Funny)

belmolis (702863) | about a year ago | (#45571985)

At first I read that as JSON and wondered what had happened to it.

Re:JSON? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572077)

It flew too close to the Sun and lost the curve part of the J

Re:JSON? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572167)

SON?

The "news" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45572241)

My friend, I think everybody and their dog who were interested in comet ISON are already aware of this "news". You have wasted your time.

There's still comet Lovejoy (4, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#45572477)

Not to be confused with the spectacular comet Lovejoy (2011). Both were discovered by the same guy so bear his name.

Lovejoy (2013) isn't as bright (barely visible to the naked eye), but should be easily visible with binoculars. It made its closest approach to Earth on Nov 19 and will reach perihelion (closest approach to the sun) Dec 25. It's fairly high up in the Northern hemisphere sky right now.
http://earthsky.org/space/how-to-see-comet-lovejoy-c2013-r1-charts-photos [earthsky.org]

Looks like it's finally gone: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#45572879)

"Previous reports of Comet ISON's death may have been somewhat exaggerated, but this time it looks like the real thing [death].

Remnants of the object once touted as the "comet of the century" passed through the viewing field of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory in the wake of Thursday's close encounter with the sun -- and as it passed, the bright spot that survived grew dimmer and dimmer.

"I do think that something emerged from the sun, but probably a very small nucleus or 'rubble pile.' and I fear that may have now dissolved," Karl Battams..." (Emph. added)

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/comet-isons-leftovers-fade-away-right-satellites-eyes-2D11674277 [nbcnews.com]

What I find really funny (1)

vikingpower (768921) | about a year ago | (#45573161)

is how, all over the interwebs, comet ISON is being described - and sometimes outright mourned - as if it had been / still were an animated being. Strange. If it had been my dog, or any dog for that matter, not surviving a close encounter with the sun - well then, hell yes. But ISON is only a chunk of dirty ice....

This is hilarious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45573355)

Did all of these science idiots forget about conservation of mass and momentum already?

So, the comet evaporated, disintegrated, blew up, blah blah. The mass is still there, and so is all the matter that made it up. It doesn't just disappear. It didn't get teleported somewhere else. It didn't get relativistically changed into its corresponding energy. Some change of velocity could have been realized by the evaporation of water (changing energy from the sun into energy of expanding gas), but it's entirely feasible (and likely) that a comet made of rock and ice went in one end and a cloud of dust, water vapor, and smaller stuff came out the other.

Comet info... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45575113)

http://www.space.com/53-comets-formation-discovery-and-exploration.html

Obligatory ... (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year ago | (#45576723)

xkcd [xkcd.com]

Tidal forces (1)

zap1992 (2795907) | about a year ago | (#45589411)

While the Sun's heat probably played a role in ISON's destruction, I think the main reason it broke up was because of the Sun's tidal forces. ISON was within its Roche limit, where the tidal effects of the Sun were enough to overpower ISON's own gravity, tearing the comet apart. Most of it is probably orbiting the Sun right now as a very small ring.
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