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COMET ISON's sun dive climax: RENDEZVOUS with DESTINY

Imagery shows iceball buffeted by solar belch

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Vid - Updated NASA has released a nifty video of Comet Ison as it makes its way inexorably towards its closest encounter with the Sun in just over three hours now at 18:44 GMT, 28 November.

STEREO image of Ison approaching the Sun. Pic: NASA

Made up of pictures from the Heliospheric Imager of the agency's STEREO-A (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) spacecraft, snapped between 20 and 25 November, the vid demonstrates the icy ball's dogged determination to reach perihelion largely intact.

Ison still faces possible disintegration or a serious roasting as it passes the Sun. A tail-stripping coronal mass ejection (CME) is also a threat, and hot-off-the-press STEREO images, assembled into a video by Brain Candy, shows the comet (bottom left) taking a serious pasting earlier today from an mighty solar belch:

STEREO image of Ison engulfed by a CME

If it survives its rollercoaster ride around the Sun, Ison should emerge for Earthlings' viewing pleasure in early December. Quite how impressive it turns out to be remains to be seen. ®

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