On November 28, 2013 comet ISON completed perihelion around the Sun, giving NASA’s Scientists the biggest scare of the Century, as spacecraft SOHO and a fleet of other space solar observatory crafts could not detect any sign of the elusive comet even two and half hours after ISON supposedly passed closest to the sun during perihelion.
Fortunate as as NASA’s SOHO ground control had given up and pronounced the comet’s demise, and accepted that that it had disintegrated under solar heat and friction from the gravitational pressure of the Sun, the sungrazer came emerged dimly, but alive and well at the other side of the sun. It gained brightness gradually as it soared back into space in its orbit.
Close to half a million people watched with eager interest and best wishes for the comet survival, as it was followed by the largest fleet of international spacecrafts, all collecting viable data that will be studied for years to come to help us predict comet behavior, as ISON is the first Oort Cloud comet that is a sungrazer has come this close to earth’s orbit.
Although some changes occurred to the comet while in close perihelion with the sun, the latest SOHO and STEREO Ahead and STEREO Behind images show that a new nucleus may have been formed.
Comet researcher and scientist, Karl Battams mentioned that sun grazing comets which he has observed have never exhibited brightening in the same way as ISON is exhibiting.
Although solar flares were clearly happening during ISON’s approch to the sun, no strong solar flare was reported by any of the observatories, except for 4 low magnitude C-class flares, reported by TESIS, Sun Today.
It is yet to be know, if the nucleus of comet will further disintegrate before or during its approach to earth on December 26, 2013.
Well, as for me, I am thrilled that ISON, survived without causing much damage at the sun, at least none that we know of or that has shown signs thus far. What is left to do now is keep an eye on the sky for the first sings of ISON, which hopefully will be a beautiful night sky sight at Christmas and several days thereafter.