Feeds

Fun-killing fireshow-flunking ZOMBIE COMET ISON only LOOKED alive

Space rock just 'furious fragments', say boffins

Top three mobile application threats

The images that appeared to capture the resurrection of Comet ISON have turned out to be nothing more than a few snaps of the space rock's ghost, as it has continued to fade from view.

After the comet seemingly came back from the dead after sputtering out just prior to perihelion*, astroboffins are now coming to the conclusion that it actually probably did die at the time – and that subsequent pics of the comet have merely captured some leftover dust.

In the most recent telegram from the International Astronomical Union, Matthew Knight of Lowell Observatory has reported the comet steadily fading after it re-emerged from perihelion, while Karl Battams of the Naval Research Laboratory says that the comet is not looking good in the Saturday images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (SOHO/LASCO).

"There is no visible nucleus or central condensation; what remains is very diffuse, largely transparent to background stars, and fading; it appears that basically a cloud of dust remains from the nucleus," he writes.

The scientists conclude that the comet is likely to have started fragmenting nearly 12 hours before perihelion, when a sudden surge in brightness was seen, but some of the dust particles were able to survive after it broke up, leaving behind the ghost of ISON.

The comet was supposed to put on a spectacular show in the night sky early this month, but Spaceweather.com now reckons that even experienced astrophotographers could have trouble finding its remains.

"No one knows for sure what is inside that fan-shaped cloud. Possibilities include a small remnant nucleus or a "rubble pile" of furiously vaporising fragments," the site said.

"Experienced astrophotographers might be able to capture the comet's fading 'ghost' in the pre-dawn sky of early December, but a naked-eye spectacle is out of the question." ®

* its closest pass over the Sun

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.