News | Space

Comet ISON Declared Dead: VIDEO


While scientists had expressed hope that once-in-a-lifetime Comet ISON had survived after a close pass by the sun on Thanksgiving day, those hopes have faded and a team of scientists dedicated to observing the comet have declared it dead.

They wrote a cute and geeky obituary:

Born in a dusty and turbulent environment, comet ISON spent its early years being jostled and struck by siblings both large and small. Surviving a particularly violent first few million years, ISON retreated to the Oort Cloud, where it maintained a largely reclusive existence for nearly four billion years. But around 3-million B.C., a chance encounter with a passing star coerced ISON into undertaking a pioneering career as a Sungrazer. On September 21, 2012, ISON made itself known to us, and allowed us to catalog the most extraordinary part of its spectacular vocational calling.

Never one to follow convention, ISON lived a dynamic and unpredictable life, alternating between periods of quiet reflection and violent outburst. However, its toughened exterior belied a complex and delicate inner working that only now we are just beginning to understand. In late 2013, Comet ISON demonstrated not only its true beauty but a surprising turn of speed as it reached its career defining moment in the inner solar system. Tragically, on November 28, 2013, ISON's tenacious ambition outweighed its ability, and our shining green candle in the solar wind began to burn out.

Survived by approximately several trillion siblings, Comet ISON leaves behind an unprecedented legacy for astronomers, and the eternal gratitude of an enthralled global audience. In ISON's memory, donations are encouraged to your local astronomy club, observatory or charity that supports STEM and science outreach programs for children.

Watch its full perihelion pass, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. I miss Towleroad science posts.

    Posted by: Kissyfur | Dec 3, 2013 8:18:24 AM

  2. Well, I guess I missed my chance to see it.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 3, 2013 11:21:52 AM

  3. Poor little comet. Thanks for the show!

    Posted by: Glenn I | Dec 3, 2013 2:01:27 PM

  4. Am wondering who will write the obituary of the planet earth and our insignificant little solar system? We in our hubris may deem this more important but exactly when . . .

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 3, 2013 4:37:41 PM

  5. @Mike—hmmm… food for thought…

    Kind of sad, this little comet gone, and after 4 billion years. Puts things into perspective.

    Posted by: tinkerbelle | Dec 3, 2013 4:50:13 PM

Post a comment


« «46 Gay Couples Marry in Hawaii on First Day of Marriage Equality: VIDEO« «