RIP Comet ISON: ???-2013. We hardly knew ye
European Space Agency calls it: space rock is pining for the fjords
Comet ISON plunged towards the Sun today and didn't emerge to tell the tale.
That's the verdict from NASA and Comet-watchers.
Here's a NASA video of the comet's last few thousand kilometres of life.
Doesn't look encouraging, does it?
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) was rigged up to spot the comet if it made it out the other side, but Dean Pesnell, SDO project scientist, says in a canned statement "We didn't see Comet ISON in SDO. "So we think it must have broken up and evaporated before it reached perihelion."
The European Space agency has offered a more definite assessment of events in this tweet.
Thus ends one of the more interesting incidents in recent solar system history. ISON was only spotted in 2012 but was quickly identified as likely to put on a show. Some predicted that show would be spectacular, perhaps even out-shining the moon.
Such a light-show did not eventuate and ISON has become just some more stuff for the Sun to crunch into life-giving warmth. And another reminder, as if it was needed, of just how amazing the universe is and how tiny we are in the scheme of things. ®
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