Comet ISON, the sungrazing comet which grabbed the attention of millions when it was discovered in September 2012, reached the end of its five million-year long journey towards the sun today. Unfortunately, for all parties involved, the Comet did not make it around the sun in one piece. ISON brightened dramatically yesterday, but then was seen to become less bright and elongate this morning. As it dove towards its perihelion, high resolution imagery showed no visible nucleus — and athe brightest part of the comet was in its tail. A steady dust trail also signaled the eventual demise of the comet, as its nucleus fragmented and apparently disintegrated just an hour or less before perihelion. As of now, ISON has not appeared on the other side of the sun on any of the handful of NASA cameras pointed at the sun specifically to observe it today.
The result of Comet ISON evaporating just prior to perihelion will be disappointing for all on the ground — as Comet ISON will never be able to be observed again. The tail of Comet ISON still remains dragged out towards the sun, a haunting remnant of its entrance into the suns very harsh environment. But the emptiness of any light on the other side of the sun tells the true tale — as ISON was never able to make it out. Over the next few days, scientists and amateur astronomers will certainly analyze the incredible amounts of data that were collected on ISON’s approach.
So, for the record. Sun: 1 Comet ISON: 0.
Stay tuned over the next few days for additional information.