Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday Miracle: Comet ISON Survives Perihelion! (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Miracles are real! It now appears that initial reports (including one here) suggesting that Comet ISON disintegrated have been proven premature thanks to further video (click the above picture to watch) by the SOHO solar observatory clearly showing Comet ISON, or at least part of it, emerging from the other side of the Sun.

So, what could have happened?

Right now, the Sun is near the peak of activity in its regular, 11-year cycles. This means that the Sun is blasting a lot of waves of charged particles (solar wind) out into space. With Comet ISON getting so close to the Sun, it will take a direct, close-range hit should a flare aimed at the comet erupt in the coming days. As for what could happen? While anything exact is far from certain, it appears as though the solar wind could have stripped off a sizable portion of the comet's atmosphere, thus reducing its brightness, and leading to premature expectations of its total demise. The same thing happened to Comet Encke in 2007.

See also: the 10 brightest comets of all time

In the end, though, the only way we'll be able to know what Comet ISON will do is to wait and watch. Hopefully, it will survive its close encounter intact and become a show for the history books when it reappears on the other side of the Sun.

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