Comet ISON is no more - Tucson News Now

Comet ISON is no more

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Comet ISON is no more.

We can now say that with confidence.

On Thanksgiving, when the comet approached the sun it had a surge in brightness.  

But that was short-lived.

Karl Battam writes on the NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign website "Its brightness rapidly fell off over the next few hours, leading many comet experts to feel that this marked the point at which the comet's nucleus finally succumbed to the intense bombardment of solar radiation and brutal stretching and shearing forces exerted by the Sun's immense gravitational pull. Compounding the problem, we also believe this turning point occurred around the time that the comet's nucleus surface temperature would have reached the point that all material - not just ices - would begin to vaporize."

The video below is of Comet ISON as it approached and passed the sun.

These images were captured from NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Comet ISON passed the sun as close as 730,000 miles at around 11:30 AM on Thanksgiving.

In space distance, that is a close call! 

NASA also released the below images from SOHO Friday morning.

A smudge of light appeared to be moving away from the sun.  

NASA optimistically said this suggested "that a small nucleus may be intact."

But Battam wrote on Sunday, December 1st "while our hopes were briefly raised when something emerged from behind the solid LASCO C2 occulting disk, it soon became apparent that ISON was no longer a healthy comet. Within a day or so following perihelion, our last last remaining hope began to fade as quickly as the comet itself, and by November 30, 2013, a ghostly cloud was all that appeared to remain of comet ISON."

Comet ISON was discovered in September 2012 by two astronomers in Russia. 

The comet gets its name from by the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON).

The Russian astronomers found the comet using a telescope in the ISON partnership, which spans about 30 telescopes in 10 countries.  

Click here for an interactive map of Comet ISON as it flies through the solar system.

After the first detection, astronomers looked through past space images and discovered the comet was seen by the Mount Lemmon Survey in December 2011. 

In June 2013, Comet ISON moved behind the sun and out of view from Earth.

According to, an amateur astronomer, Bruce Gary, in Hereford, Arizona was the first to spot Comet ISON after it emerged from behind the sun in August.

Far away from city lights, Gary operates two powerful telescopes in two separate structures.

Visit Gary's Hereford Arizona Observatory page by clicking here.

UA's Adam Block, an accomplished astrophotographer and astronomer, snapped the below image of Comet ISON from the Mt Lemmon SkyCenter on October 8, 2013. 

Two workers from the Flandrau Science Center, Blythe Guvenen & Ali, snapped the below photo of Comet ISON on Tuesday October 22, 2013.

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