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The death of a comet: ISON turns out to be a Thanksgiving turkey

Sadly, there will apparently be no Great Thanksgiving Comet of 2013.

Comet ISON apparently didn't survive its close encounter with Old Sol intact.

But something survived. The comet's disintegration notwithstanding, take a look at the picture to the right. Sure looks like an emerging comet to me! But NASA can't find a nucleus. Whether there will be enough material closely compacted enough to provide some sort of a show even now remains to be seen; ISON was (is?) a pretty big comet!

If ISON is indeed kaput, it will be a real disappointment to all of us who have been looking forward lo these many months to a visitor which might have been bright enough to read a newspaper by.

For those of us who are non-photographers, that makes us O-for-2 in what had been predicted to be possible Great Comets this year. Comet PanSTARRS disappointed us in March. PanSTARRS yielded great images, but wasn't much visually.

Looks like those of us who are into comets will have to wait a bit longer for the next big one.

Here's the event as NASA described it in real time:

ADDENDUM: It struck me several hours after posting this that what appears to be the "tail" of the "comet" indicated by an arrow in the picture at the top of this post is pointing the wrong way. Comet's tails always point away from the sun; they're created by the solar wind blowing outward from our local star.

The thing the arrow is pointing to is a dissipating debris field, alas.


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