Comet Ison May Still Be Alive

Comet Ison May Still Be Alive

Yesterday, comet Ison flew close to the sun, and many sources reported its death. But now some scientists are claiming that it, or at least some part of it, may have survived its journey.

The comet was declared dead when it reappeared from behind the sun with massively decreased brightness; all that scientists could see was a dull smudge, which led them to assume its nucleus and tail has been destroyed. But, according to the BBC, researchers are now seeing “a brightening of what may be a small fragment of the comet”:

Astronomers admit to being surprised and delighted, but now caution that anything could happen in the coming hours and days.

This remnant of Ison could continue to brighten, or it could simply fizzle out altogether.

“We’ve been following this comet for a year now and all the way it has been surprising us and confusing us,” said astrophysicist Karl Battams.

“It’s just typical that right at the end, when we said, ‘yes, it has faded out, it’s died, we’ve lost it in the Sun’, that a couple of hours later it should pop right back up again.”

We’re eager to see what’s actually happened to the comet, and will update with any pictures that are published as soon as we see them. [BBC]

Update: And here are some GIFs that show Ison after its journey past the sun! (They’re big, so they may take a while to load.)