Comet ISON Fizzles
Comet ISON, the most hyped comet of the century, has dwindled into a little snowball after flying too close to the sun.
On November 28, NASA/ESA's special LASCO telescope recorded the comet passing within reach of powerful solar winds. According to NASA astronomer Tony Phillips, the main destruction happened before perihelion, when ISON was closest to the sun's surface. A touching eulogy by NASA's Comet Observing Campaign notes that the comet had a long life, existing for over four billion years before meeting its fate in our solar system. In fact, it was not headed toward us for most of this time: Only in 3-million B.C., when "a chance encounter with a passing star coerced ISON into undertaking a pioneering career as a Sungrazer."
ISON passed away around Thanksgiving, so take a moment to say thanks for coming all this way.