Death Of A Comet

  • Released Thursday, December 26th, 2013
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:51PM
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Comet ISON was born along with the solar system some 4.5 billion years ago. But after a close encounter with the sun, its time has finally come to an end. On November 28, 2013, the comet shot around the sun on a dangerous trajectory that brought it within 700,000 miles of the surface. As it disappeared from view of sun-observing spacecraft, scientists waited with bated breath to learn of its fate. Would the comet disintegrate in the fierce heat and gravity of the sun or remain intact? Some remnant of the comet did indeed survive the trip around the sun, but it quickly dimmed and fizzled, signaling a close to ISON's magnificent journey through space. Watch the video for a look at Comet ISON’s final moments.

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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Cover image courtesy of NASA/ESA/SOHO/SDO/Francis Reddy
Comet images courtesy of NASA/ESA/SOHO/SDO and NASA/ESA/SOHO/SDO/DSS/Francis Reddy