STOCKHOLM — Scientists say it appears a comet from the fringes of the solar system didn’t survive its close encounter with the sizzling sun.
Images from NASA spacecraft showed Comet ISON approaching for its slingshot around the sun on Thursday, but nothing coming out on the other side.
In a Google+ hangout, U.S. Navy solar researcher Karl Battams said “ISON probably hasn’t survived this journey.”
Phil Plait, an astronomer who runs the “Bad Astronomy” blog, agreed, saying “I don’t think the comet made it.”
Still, he said, it wouldn’t be all bad news if the 4.5-billion-year-old rock broke up into pieces, because astronomers might be able to study the pieces and learn more about comets.
ISON, which was discovered a year ago, was making its first spin around the sun. Projections were that it would come closest to the super-hot solar surface on Thanksgiving Day at 10:37 a.m. PST.