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Comet Ison fades to obscurity after its solar burn off

3 Dec 2013, 10:58 UTC
Comet Ison fades to obscurity after its solar burn off
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The Comet Ison failed to live up to its billing as the so-called “Comet of the Century” as it passed close to the Sun in late November. Images from the ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft’s Lasco instrument (see courtesy NASA below) show the Comet approaching the Sun, and as it emerges becoming a much feinter smudge after its close encounter. Scientists […]

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The Comet Ison failed to live up to its billing as the so-called “Comet of the Century” as it passed close to the Sun in late November. Images from the ESA/NASA SOHO spacecraft’s Lasco instrument (see courtesy NASA below) show the Comet approaching the Sun, and as it emerges becoming a much feinter smudge after its close encounter. Scientists believe that a a combination of high temperatures, solar wind and gravitatioanal forces broke the comet apart leaving only a small remnant and weak tail to survive. Originally it had been hoped that had the Comet Ison fully survived its perhelion fly-pass it would have grown a strong tail to become a highly object in the December night sky.

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