Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. Recreation
  3. General Recreation

Cancel the comet parties, Comet ISON is dead

See also

Forget any comet watches planned for the morning next week: Comet ISON is undeniably dead (for real!). Four days after seemingly resurrecting after a melting event on Thanksgiving, Comet ISON is dead for a second time, this time permanently. The latest videos from the SOHO solar observatory are showing Comet ISON to be no more than just a cloud of dissipating dust.

So, what exactly happened?

According to Spaceweather.com, after having a few days to examine the imagery, experts are starting to come come to a consensus. The opinion: Comet ISON actually disintegrated before perihelion. The reasoning: the comet's brightness dipped quite noticeably before perihelion as seen by the SOHO camera. After perihelion, Comet ISON appeared dimmer than ever before, only to brighten afterward. Scientific consensus: the comet that emerged from perihelion was really no more than a gravitationally-bound rubble pile.

Sad end for the once-proclaimed 'comet of the century.'

Both astronomers and the general public went abuzz over Comet ISON thanks to a prediction released a year ago by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) that stated that the comet could reach magnitude -11.6, or about as bright as the Full Moon. Additionally, besides being shadow-casting bright at night, the comet would be bright enough to easily be spotted during broad daylight. If Comet ISON were to become this bright, it would not be a first, but it would still be the astronomical event of the year should the JPL's prediction come true.

See also: the brightest comets in history

In the end, none of this matters, Comet ISON is undeniably gone for good, so cancel any planned observing in the morning.

As always, would-be comet watchers in the Cleveland area should be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock. Live somewhere else? Find a clock and see if it will be clear near you.

Like this?
Hit the 'subscribe' button for automatic email updates when I write something new!

Want to read more of my stuff? Check out my other Examiner columns!
National Space News Examiner
Photography Examiner
Cleveland Photography Examiner

Want even more? Check out my personal websites:
The Nightly Sky
Bodzash Photography & Astronomy

Advertisement

Sports

  • The New York Yankees turn the first triple play of the 2014 season
    Video
    Watch Video
  • A big third period from the Rangers propel them past Philly in Game 1
    NHL
  • Donovan McNabb serves time in jail stemming from a December DUI
    NFL News
  • Interview with Bernard Hopkins: 'I'm from Mars, but I fight here on Earth'
    Boxing
  • Are you as excited as LeBron about the NBA Playoffs? We seriously doubt it
    NBA
  • New details have emerged about the friendly-fire incident that killed Pat Tillman
    Video
    Watch Video

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about Examiner.com and apply today!