viernes, 6 de diciembre de 2013

Have we seen the last of Comet ISON?

UPDATE DECEMBER 6, 2013. As Comet ISON pulled away from the sun on November 30, it first brightened and then faded again. For many days now, it has seemed likely that Comet ISON has become little more than a traveling field of debris in space, still following the path of the original comet. Scientists originally said that – if it had not fragmented, if it had maintained its solid nucleus or core – Comet ISON would have become visible again in Earth’s skies beginning around December 3.

That has not happened. We have not seen any photos of ISON taken from Earth, so far, since the comet got too close to the sun to see from Earth, in late November. Expert observers are saying we’re likely not to see any sign of Comet ISON until around December 12. Even then, Comet ISON will certainly not become visible to the unaided eye in December. Still, some remain hopeful that amateur and professional astronomers might catch sight of some remnant of the comet, in photos. Those with telescopes and good cameras will surely be aiming toward the traveling debris field that is now Comet ISON.

Comet ISON rounded the sun on November 28, 2013. It brightened briefly after perihelion. But, by November 30, the comet had faded again.

 For details on the comet’s fate after its November 30 perihelion, check out the article below, from the Comet ISON Observing Campaign: In ISON’s wake, a trail of questions If you really want to see a comet, try Comet Lovejoy! It’s now visible to the eye in dark skies, and should remain so throughout December: How to see Comet Lovejoy in December 2013 Let me say this about Comet ISON. It was exciting it was to watch Comet ISON round the sun. We cannot see it with our eyes now, but watching it via our spacecraft was, in my opinion, just about as good.

Hats off to NASA Goddard’s Karl Battams, who almost singlehandedly informed the world about this comet during perihelion, both via his Twitter feed @SunGrazerComets or via NASA’s Comet ISON Observing Campaign website. In the early evening of November 28, he posted these words: We’re calling it … you heard it here first … we believe some small part of ISON’s nucleus has survived. But then all hopes were dashed as the comet faded again. Battams tweeted the following:

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