SOHO shows new images of Comet ISON

Nov 27, 2013
Comet ISON streams toward the sun from the lower right in this image from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory mission, captured at 3:07 a.m. EST on Nov. 27, 2013. A cloud of solar material, called a coronal mass ejection, is seen under the sun. Credit: ESA/NASA/SOHO

As Comet ISON heads toward its closest approach to the sun—known as perihelion—on Nov. 28, 2013, scientists have been watching through many observatories to see if the comet has already broken up under the intense heat and gravitational forces of the sun. The comet is too far away to discern how many pieces it is in, so instead researchers carefully measure how bright it is, which can be used to infer its current state. Less light can sometimes mean that more of the material has boiled off and disappeared, perhaps pointing to a disintegrated comet. But also a disintegrating comet sometimes gives off more light, at least temporarily, so researchers look at the comet's pattern of behavior over the previous few days to work out what it may be doing.

Has Comet ISON broken up? It is still unclear.

At times observations have suggested ISON was getting dimmer and might already be in pieces. However, over Nov. 26-27, 2013, the once again brightened. In the early hours of Nov. 27, the comet appeared in the view of the European Space Agency/NASA mission the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory in the Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph instrument. Coronagraphs block out the bright light of the sun in order to better see the dimmer solar atmosphere, the corona. In these images, the comet looks quite bright as it moves in from the lower right of the image. A giant cloud of solar material, called a or CME, is also seen in the images bursting off the bottom of the sun and heading out into space. It is as yet unclear if the CME is heading towards ISON but even if it does, it poses no real danger to the comet.

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ISON enters the field of view of the joint ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, or SOHO, spacecraft's C3 coronograph, where the brighter view of the sun itself is blocked to focus on the solar atmosphere, or corona. This video covers 17 hours beginning at 19:42 UT on Nov. 26, 2013. Credit: NASA SVS

If the comet has already broken up, it should disintegrate completely as it makes its slingshot around the sun. This would provide a great opportunity for scientists to see the insides of the comet, and better understand its composition—as such information holds clues about what material was present during the solar system's formation when this comet was born. However, it would likely mean no comet visible in the night sky in December. We'll only know for sure after the comet rounds the on Thanksgiving Day.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

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User comments : 5

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baudrunner
1 / 5 (3) Nov 27, 2013
I have played this video over and over, and even captured it so that I could study it later using stop frame, just so that I can get a better look at those flashes across SOHO's field of view. There appears to be a lot of activity in the space between here and the sun, which is so because it is unexpected. Shouldn't it be still out there, I mean, apart from the solar ejecta?
yyz
5 / 5 (3) Nov 28, 2013
@baudrunner,

What you're seeing are cosmic rays striking the detector(#2 in link): http://sungrazer....ometform

Are you looking for Nibiru?: http://www.badast...oho.html
VendicarE
not rated yet Nov 28, 2013
ISON is no more.
VendicarE
not rated yet Nov 28, 2013
"those flashes across SOHO's field of view" - Baudrunner

They are called space-rods. The space relatives of the rods captured on film here on earth.

Proof of space aliens. Pure and simple.

For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky.
baudrunner
not rated yet Nov 29, 2013
Are you looking for Nibiru?: http://www.badast...oho.html
No, actually its space-faring inhabitants getting a closer look at ISON. Nuts, eh?

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