ISON Update: The Comet Streaks Toward the Sun, Which Promptly Lets Loose With a Coronal Explosion

By Tom Yulsman | November 26, 2013 10:43 pm

As Comet ISON has moved into the field of view of NASA’s SOHO spacecraft, the sun has let loose a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Click on the image for a short animation. (Source: NASA)

|Update 1:15 p.m. MST, 11/27: Karl Battams of the Comet Ison Observing Campaign is reporting that the comet is brightening in line with other sungrazing comets. Writing in his latest update, Battams says, “We cannot comment on whether the nucleus is intact or not, but our analyses indicate that its rate of brightening is directly in line with that we have experienced with other sungrazing comets. This has no implication on its chances of survival.” So, will Comet Ison survive it’s passage through the sun’s million degree corona tomorrow? Stay tuned… |

Here comes Comet ISON, streaking toward the sun at more than a hundred thousand miles per hour — and now visible for the first time to NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory spacecraft.

No sooner had the comet entered SOHO’s field of view than the sun let loose with a massive eruption of particles called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. You can see it all in the image above, from SOHO.

In the image, the sun — indicated by the circle in the middle — is blacked out so dimmer features like the CME can be seen clearly.

Is ISON still intact? Yesterday, the evidence was suggesting that maybe it was not. But a definitive answer still isn’t at hand. As soon as there’s news, I’ll post it here. Stay tuned.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Planetary Science, select, Top Posts


ImaGeo is a visual blog focusing on the intersection of imagery, imagination and Earth. It focuses on spectacular visuals related to the science of our planet, with an emphasis (although not an exclusive one) on the unfolding Anthropocene Epoch.

About Tom Yulsman

Tom Yulsman is Director of the Center for Environmental Journalism and a Professor of Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He also continues to work as a science and environmental journalist with more than 30 years of experience producing content for major publications. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Audubon, Climate Central, Columbia Journalism Review, Discover, Nieman Reports, and many other publications. He has held a variety of editorial positions over the years, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Earth magazine. Yulsman has written one book: Origins: the Quest for Our Cosmic Roots, published by the Institute of Physics in 2003.


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