Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

SOHO shows new images of Comet ISON

Date:
November 27, 2013
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
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.

Comet ISON is moving ever closer to the sun. Image captured in the early hours of Nov. 27, 2013.
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 comet 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 coronal mass ejection 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.

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 sun on Thanksgiving Day.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "SOHO shows new images of Comet ISON." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127170445.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2013, November 27). SOHO shows new images of Comet ISON. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127170445.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "SOHO shows new images of Comet ISON." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131127170445.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Shuttle Replica Hoisted for Landmark Exhibit

Space Shuttle Replica Hoisted for Landmark Exhibit

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 14, 2014) The space shuttle replica Independence has been hoisted atop Space Center Houston's shuttle carrier aircraft, creating a monument to the shuttle program which will open to the public next year. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins